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Full text of "Through Connemara in a governess cart"

ONNBWA 



IN A 



Governess Cart 





wfru^ 



University of California • Berkeley 

GIFT OF 

The Friends of The Bancroft Library 



THROUGH CONNEMARA IN A 
GOVERNESS-CART. 



THROUGH CONNEMARA 



IN A 



GOVERNESS CART. 



THE AUTHORS OF "AN IRISH COUSIN. 



Illustrated by W. W. Russell, from Sketches by 
Edith CE. Somerville. 



LONDON : 

W. H. ALLEN & CO, LIMITED, 

13, WATERLOO PLACE, S.W. 
1893. 



The following pages, with their accompanying illus- 
trations, originally appeared in the columns of " The 
Ladies' Pictorial," and are here reprinte'd by per- 
mission of the Proprietors. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



"in the seclusion of the back bedroom" 5 

" if ye bate him any more he'll lie down " ... 19 

"she's a little giddy about the head, miss " 28 

" we viewed the stowing of the governess-cart " 31 
"mr. Flaherty's boy was demonstrating with a pitch- 
fork" 35 

"we pursued our way to recess" 39 

A fisherman at recess 43 

the two hotel dogs ... 49 

"now" 53 

" ballinahinch came slowly into sight" 65 

"we heard wheels close at hand" 71 

" hanging on each to our rein " 85 

" sitting on little stools inside the big fireplace " 97 

14 revealed a monstrous grey goose " io5 



viii ILL USTRA TIONS. 

i'A(;k 

mr. mitchell henry's place, kylemore castle 119 

jack's father 125 

at tully fair 129 

renvyle house hotei 141 

" it was the broad window seat, in conjunction with 

the mountains, that turned the scale" ... 147 

"she was an american lady " i49 

the renvyle donkey i58 

"down the hill of salruck " 169 

"the holy well, salruck " 175 

" eight o'clock breakfast, please, and call us sharp 

AT SEVEN " 191 

"THE REGRET WITH WHICH WE PAID OUR HOTEL BILL 
WAS NOT WHOLLY MERCENARY, BUT WAS BLENDED 

WITH THE FINER PATHOS OF FAREWELL" 197 



THROUGH CONNEMARA IN A 
GOVERNESS-CART. 



CHAPTER I. 
\ M Y second cousin and I came to London for ten 
days in the middle of last June, and we stayed 
there for three weeks, waiting for a fine day. 

We were Irish, and all the English with whom we 
had hitherto come in contact had impressed upon us 
that we should never know what fine weather was 
till we came to England. Perhaps we came at a bad 
moment, when the weather, like the shops, was hav- 
ing its cheap sales. Certainly such half-hours of sun- 
shine as we came in for were of the nature of " soiled 
remnants," and at the end of the three weeks aforesaid 
we began to feel a good deal discouraged. Things 



2 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

came to a climax one day when we had sat for three- 
quarters of>an hour in a Hungarian bread shop in 
Regent Street, waiting for the rain to clear off enough 
to let us get down to the New Gallery. As the fifth 
party of moist ladies came in and propped their 
dripping umbrellas against the wall behind us, and 
remarked that they had never seen such rain, our 
resolution first began to take shape. 

" Hansom ! " said my second cousin. 

" Home ! " said I. 

By home, of course we meant the lodgings — the 
remote, the Bayswaterian, but still, the cheap, the 
confidential ; for be they never so homely, there's no 
place — for sluttish comfort and unmolested unpunc- 
tuality — like lodgings. 

" England is no fit place for a lady to be in," said 
my second cousin, as we drove away in our hansom 
with the glass down. 

" I'd be ashamed to show such weather to a Conne- 
mara pig," I replied. 

Now Connemara is a sore subject with my second 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 3 

cousin, who lives within sight of its mountains, and, 
as is usually the case, has never explored ''the glories 
of her native country, which was why I mentioned 
Connemara. She generally changes the conversation 
on these occasions ; but this time she looked me 
steadily in the face and said, 

" Well, let's go to Connemara ! " 

I was so surprised that I inadvertently pressed the 
indiarubber ball of the whistle on which my hand was 
resting, and its despairing wail filled the silence like 
a note of horror. 

" Let's get an ass and an ass-car ! " said my cousin, 
relapsing in her excitement into her native idiom, and 
taking no notice of the fact that the hansom had 
stopped, and that I was inventing a lie for the driver ; 
"or some sort of a yoke, whatever, and we'll drive 
through Connemara." 

In the seclusion of the back bedroom we reviewed 
the position, while around us on the lodging-house 
pegs hung the draggled ghosts of what had been our 
Sunday dresses. 



B 2 



4 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" That's the thing I wore last night ! " said my 
second cousin, in a hard, flat voice, lifting with 
loathing finger a soaked flounce. As she did so, the 
river sand fell from it into the boots that stood be- 
neath. 

" Soil of tea-garden, Kingston-on-Thames. Result 
of boating-picnic that has to fly for refuge to an inn- 
parlour ten minutes after it has started." 

"It will wash," I answered gloomily. " But look at 
that ! " Here I pointed to an evening gown erstwhile, 
to quote an Irish divine, " the brightest feather in my 
crown." " That's what comes of trailing through 
Bow Street after the opera, looking for a hansom 
during the police riots. Give me Irish weather and 
the R.I.C. ! We will go to Connemara ! " 

The Milford and Cork boat starts at eight, and at 
half-past eight a doomed crowd was sitting round its 
still stationary tea-table. My second cousin was 
feverishly eating dry toast and drinking a precau- 
tionary brandy and soda, but the others were revelling 



•V i" ; ~ 




&&£$&:: 



" IN THE SECLUSION OF THE BACK BEDROOM. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 7 

on beefsteak and fried fish. The company was mixed. 
Opposite to us sat an American and his bride, both 
young, and both uncertain of the rules that govern 
the consumption of fish ; the bride feeling that a 
couple of small forks, held as though they were pens, 
would meet the situation, while her big, red-headed 
husband evidently believed that by holding the fork 
in the right hand and the knife in the left the im- 
propriety of using the latter would ,be condoned. 
Beside us were two elderly ladies, returning, like us, 
to their native land. 

" Yes, me dear," we heard one saying to the other ; 
" I had nothing only my two big boxes and seven 
little small parcels, and poor little Charlie's rabbit, and 
that porther wanted to get thruppence out o' me ! " 

" D'ye tell me so ? " remarked the friend. 

" Yes, dear, he did indeed ! He wanted thruppence 
and I gave him tuppence ; he was tough, very tough 
but I was shtubborn ! " 

" Ah, them English is great rogues," said the friend, 
consolingly. 



8 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" More fish, Miss ? " said the unobservant steward 
to my second cousin, thrusting a generous helping 
under her nose. It wanted but that, and she retired 
to the doubtful security of the ladies' cabin. 

We have travelled with many stewardesses on the 
various routes between England and Cork, and we 
have found that, as a species, they have at least two 
great points in common. They are all Irish, and they 
are all relentlessly conversational. They have no 
respect for the sanctity of the silence in which the 
indifferent sailor wishes to shroud herself; it is im- 
possible for them to comprehend those solemn mo- 
ments, when the thoughts are turned wholly inwards 
in a tumult of questioning, while the body lies in 
mummy stillness waiting for what the night shall 
bring forth. Their leading object seems to be to 
acquire information, but they are not chary of per- 
sonal detail, and, speaking from experience, I should 
say that a stewardess will confide anything to the 
passenger by whose berth she has elected to take 
down her hair. For stewardesses generally do their 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 9 

hair two or three times in the course of a twelve 
hours' crossing. When you go on board you find 
them at it. Your evening ablutions are embittered 
by the discovery of their hair-pins in the soap-dish, 
and at earliest dawn the traveller is aware of the 
stewardess combing her shining tresses over the 
washing-stand. I have sometimes wondered if from 
this custom arose the fable that the mermaid, 
when not decoying sailors to their fate, is incess- 
antly " racking her poll," as they say in the county 
Cork. 

We will not linger on the details of the night, the 
sufferings of little Charlie, who, on the plea of ex- 
treme youth, had been imported by his mother into 
the ladies' cabin ; the rustlings and chumping of the 
rabbit, whose basket occupied the greater part of the 
cabin table, or the murmured confidences exchanged 
through the night hours by the stewardess and the 
friend of Charlie's mother. These things are being 
forgotten by us as fast as may be ; but my second 
cousin says she never can forget the waft of pigs that 



io. THROUGH CONNEMARA 

came to her through the porthole as the steamer drew 
alongside of the Cork quay. 

The exigencies of return tickets had compelled us 
to go to Connemara via Cork and Milford, and it 
certainly is not the route we would recommend ; how- 
ever, it has its advantages, and we were vouchsafed a 
time of precious rest before the starting of our train 
for Limerick at 2.10, and we reposed in peace on the 
sofas of the ladies' drawing-room in the Imperial 
Hotel. Much might be said, were there time, of the 
demeanour of ladies in hotel drawing-rooms ; so 
hushed, so self-conscious, so eminent in all those 
qualities with which they are endued by the artist 
who " does " the hotel interiors for the guide-books. 
It is almost possible to believe that they are engaged 
for the season to impart tone, and to show how agree- 
able a lounge life can be when spent in the elegant 
leisure that is the atmosphere of hotel drawing- 
rooms. 

We crossed Cork on an outside-car ; and here, no 
doubt, we should enter on a description of its perils 



IN A GOVRRNESS-CART. n 

which would convulse and alarm English readers in 
the old, old way ; but we may as well own at once 
that we know all about outside-cars ; we believe we 
went to be christened on an outside-car, and we did 
not hold on even then — we certainly have not done so 
since. 

Let us rather embark on a topic in which all, 
saving a besotted few, will sympathise. The nursery 
en voyage — the nurse, the nursemaid, the child, the 
feeding-bottle. These beset every traveller's path, 
and we had considerably more than our fair share of 
them between Cork and Limerick. At Cork they 
descended upon the train, as it lay replete and help- 
less, a moment before starting, and before we had 
well understood the extent of the calamity, a nurse 
was glaring defiance at us over the white bonnet of a 
bellowing baby, and a nursemaid was already opening 
her basket of food for the benefit of two children of 
the dread ages of three and five respectively. Some 
rash glance on the part of my second cousin must 
have betrayed our sentiments to the nurse, and it is 



l2 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

hard to say which was worse, her exaggerated anxiety 
to snatch the children from all contact with us, or the 
imbecile belief of the nursemaid that we wanted to 
play with them, and, of the two, enjoyed their wiping 
their hands on our rug in the intervals between the 
oranges. They never ceased eating oranges, those 
children. Oranges, seed cake, milk ; these succeeded 
one another in a sort of vicious circle. An enterprising 
advertiser asks, " What is more terrible than war ? " 
We answer unhesitatingly, oranges in the hands of 
young children. 

However, everything, even the waits at the sta- 
tions between Limerick and Athenry, comes to an 
end if you can live it out, and at about nine o'clock 
at night we were in Galway. Scarcely by our own 
volition, we found ourselves in an hotel 'bus, and we 
were too tired to do more than notice the familiar 
Galway smell of turf smoke as we bucketted through 
Eyre Square to our hostelry. It may be as well at 
this point to seriously assure English readers that the 
word " peat " is not used in Ireland in reference to 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 13 

fuel by anyone except possibly the Saxon tourist. 
Let it therefore be accepted that when we say "turf" 
we mean peat, and when, if ever, we say Pete, we 
mean the diminutive of Peter, no matter what the 
spelling. 

We breakfasted leisurely and late next morning, 
serenaded by the screams of pigs, for it was fair day, 
and the market square was blocked with carts tightly 
packed with pigs, or bearing tall obelisks of sods 
of turf, built with. Egyptian precision. We cast our 
eye abroad upon a drove of Connemara ponies, driven 
in for sale like so many sheep, and my second 
cousin immediately formed the romantic project of 
hiring one of these and a small trap for our Conne- 
mara expedition. 

"They are such hardy little things," she said, 
enthusiastically, " we had two of them once, and 
they always lived on grass. Of course they never did 
any work really, and I remember they used to bite 
anyone who tried to catch them — but still I think one 
of them would be just the thing." 



14 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" I beg your pardon, Miss," said the waiter, who 
was taking away our breakfast things, " but thim 
ponies is very arch for the likes of you to drive. 
One o' thim'd be apt to lie down in the road with 
yerself and the thrap, and maybe it'd be dark night 
before he'd rise up for ye. Faith, there was one o' 
them was near atin' the face off a cousin o' me own 
that was enticin' him to stand up out o' the way o' the 
mail-car." 

My second cousin looked furtively at me, and rose 
from her seat in some confusion. 

" Oh, I think we should be able to manage a pony," 
she said, with a sudden resumption of the dignity that 
I had noticed she had laid aside since her arrival in 
Gal way. " Is there — er — any two- wheeled — er — trap 
to be had ? " 

* " Sure there is, Miss, and a nate little yoke it'd be 
for the two of ye, though the last time it was out one 
of the shafts " 

" Is it in the yard ? " interrupted my second cousin, 
severely. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 15 

" It is, Miss, but the step took the ground " 

My cousin here left the room, and I followed her. 
A few moments later the trap was wheeled into the 
yard for our inspection. It was apparently a seg- 
ment of an antediluvian brougham, with a slight 
flavour about it of a hansom turned the wrong way, 
though its great-grandfather had probably been a 
highly-connected sedan-chair. The door was at the 
back, as in an omnibus, the floor was about six 
inches above the ground, and the two people whom it 
with difficulty contained had to sit with their backs 
to the horse, rocking and swinging between the two 
immense wheels, of which they had a dizzy prospect 
through the little side windows. 

" There it is for ye, now ! " said the waiter, 
triumphantly. He had followed us downstairs and 
was negligently polishing a tablespoon with his 
napkin. " And Jimmy," indicating the ostler, " '11 
know of the very horse that'll be fit to put under it." 

" No," we said faintly, " that would never do ; we 
want to drive ourselves." 



1 6 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

The ostler fell into an attitude of dramatic medita- 
tion. 

" Would you be agin dhrivin' a side-car ? " 

We said " No." 

Equally dramatic ecstasy on the part of both 
ostler and waiter. The former, strange to say, 
had a friend who was the one person in Galway 
who had the very thing we wanted. " Letyees be 
gettin' ready now," said Jimmy, " for I'll go fetch 
it this minute." 

About half an hour later we were standing at the 
hotel doorsteps, prepared for our trial trip. On the 
pavement were clustered about us the beggarwomen 
of Galway — an awesome crew, from whose mouths 
proceeded an uninterrupted flow of blessings and 
cursings, the former levelled at us, the latter at each 
other and the children who hung about their skirts. 
We pushed our way through them, and getting up on 
the car announced that we were ready to start, but 
some delay in obtaining a piece of cord to tie up the 
breeching gave the beggars a precious opportunity. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 17 

My second cousin was recognised, and greeted by 
name with every endearment. 

" Aha ! didn't I tell ye 'twas her ? " " Arrah, shut 
yer mouth, Nellie Morris. I knew the fine full eyes 
of her since she was a baby." M Don't mind them, 
darlin','' said a deep voice on a level with the step of 
the car ; " sure ye'll give to yer own little Judy from 
Menlo ? " 

This was my cousin's own little Judy from Menlo, 
and at her invocation we both snatched from our 
purses the necessary blackmail and dispensed it with 
furious haste. Most people would pay largely to 
escape from the appalling presence of this seventy- 
year-old nightmare of two foot nothing, and she is 
well aware of its compelling power. 

The car started with a jerk, the driver boy running 
by the horse's side till he had goaded it into a trot, 
and then jumping on the driving- seat he lashed it into 
a gallop, and we swung out of Eyre Square followed 
by the admiring screams of the beggars. The pace 
was kept up, and we were well out of Galway before 



18 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

a slightly perceptible hill suddenly changed it to a 
funeral crawl — the animal's head disappearing be- 
tween its forelegs. 

" Give me the reins," said my second cousin. 
' These country boys never know how to drive," she 
added in an undertone as she took them from the 
boy. The horse, a pale yellow creature, with a rusty 
black mane and tail, turned his head, and fixing a 
penetrating eye upon her, slightly slackened his pace. 
My cousin administered a professional flick of the 
whip, whereon he shrank to the other side of the 
road, jamming the step of the car 'against a telegraph 
post and compelling me to hurriedly whirl my legs up 
on to the seat. We slurred over the incident, how- 
ever, and proceeded at the same pace to the top of the 
hill. A judicious kick from the boy urged the horse 
into an amble, and things were going on beautifully 
when we drew near a pool of water by the road- 
side. 

" You see he goes very well when he is properly 
driven," my second cousin began, leaning noncha- 



7 




ii 



C 2 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 21 

lantly across the car towards me. As she spoke, the 
car gave a lurch and came to a standstill at the edge 
of the pool. Apparently the yellow horse was 
thirsty. He was with difficulty dragged into the 
middle of the road again, but beyond the pool he 
refused to go. The boy got down with the air of one 
used to these things. 

" If ye bate him any more he'll lie down," he said 
to my cousin. " I'll go to the house beyond and 
gether a couple o' the neighbours." 

The neighbours — that is to say, the whole of 
the inhabitants of the house — turned out with en- 
thusiasm, and, having put stones behind the wheels, 
addressed themselves to the yellow horse with strange 
oaths and with many varieties of sticks. 

" 'Tis little he cares for yer bating," screamed the 
mother after several minutes of struggle. " Let him 
dhrink his fill o' the pool and he'll go to America for 

ye." 

We thought that on the whole we should prefer 
to return to Gahvay, and though assured by the boy 



22 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

of ultimate victory, we turned and made for the town 
on foot. 

" I scarcely think that horse will do," said my 
second cousin, after we had walked about half a 
mile, turning on me a face still purple from her exer- 
tions with the whip. " We want a freer animal than 
that." 

She had scarcely finished when there was a thun- 
dering on the road behind us, a sound of furious 
galloping and shouting, and the car appeared in 
sight, packed with men, and swinging from side to 
side as the yellow horse came along with a racing 
stride. 

" Ye can sit up on the car now ! " called out the 
boy as they neared us, " he'll go aisy from this out." 

The car pulled up, and the volunteers got off it with 
loud and even devotional assurances of the yellow 
horse's perfections. 

But we walked back to Galway. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART, 23 



CHAPTER II. 

OHALL we admit that, after all, the first stage 
^ of our journey was accomplished by means of 
the mail-car? We had been assured, on reliable 
authority, that Oughterard, fourteen Irish miles from 
Galway, was the place where we should find what we 
wanted, and with a dubious faith we climbed the steep 
side of the mail car, and wedged ourselves between a 
stout priest and an English tourist. Above us towered 
the mail baskets, and a miscellaneous pile of luggage, 
roped together with that ingenuity that necessity has 
developed in the Irish carman, and crowning all, the 
patriarchal countenance of a goat looked down upon 
us in severe amazement from over the rim of an im- 
mense hamper. 

We have said in our haste that we never hold on on 



24 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

jaunting-cars, but as the dromedary to the park hack, 
so is the mail-car to the ordinary " outside " of its 
species. It is large enough to hold six people on 
each side, and is dragged by three horses at a speed 
that takes no account of ruts and patches of stones 
and sharp corners, or of the fact that the unstable 
passenger has nothing to grasp at in time of need, 
except his equally unstable fellow-traveller. We held 
on to the priest and the tourist with all the power of 
our elbows, and derived at least some moral support 
from the certainty that when we fell off the car we 
should, like Samson, carry widespread disaster with 
us. But somehow people do not fall off these cars ; 
and even the most unschooled of Saxons sits and 
swings and bows on the narrow seat with a security 
that must surprise himself. 

An Irish mile is, roughly speaking, a mile and a 
quarter English, so we leave to the accomplished 
reader the computation of the distance from Galway 
to Oughterard according to the rightful standard. It 
is not in the ordinary sense a very interesting drive ; 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 25 

the guide-books pass it over in a breath in their haste 
to blossom out into the hotels and fisheries of Conne- 
mara ; but to the eye that comes fresh to it from the 
offensively sleek and primly-partitioned pastures of 
England this first impression of Galway and its un- 
trammelled bogs and rocks will be as lasting as any 
that come after. We ourselves might have framed 
many moving sentences about the desolate houses 
standing amongst the neglected timber within their 
broken demesne walls, but " all our mind was clouded 
with a doubt," and from the peculiar protrusion of my 
cousin's nether lip, I could gather that her moodiness 
was the outward token of an agitated mental parade 
of all the Oughterard horseflesh with which she was 
acquainted. 

We spent that night at Oughterard in Miss Murphy's 
comfortable little hotel, and the next morning found 
us embarked once more in search of a means of travel. 
The trap had been unearthed — the trap of our bright- 
est dreams — a governess-cart that would just hold two 
people and a reasonable amount of luggage ; but the 



26 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

horse was the trouble. Various suggestions had been 
made : some had been feasible, and the one thing on 
which we were firmly decided, viz., the governess-cart, 
seemed an impossibility. 

" Well, Miss, ye see, she's only just in off grass ; 
sure she'll rejoice greatly in the coorse of the next 
few days, and she'd fit the shafts well enough so." 

Thus spoke the proprietor of many flocks and herds 
to whom we had addressed ourselves. " It's a pity 
there's nothing would suit ye only the little thrap, but 
surely ye might thry her whatever." 

" She " was a farm mare of mountainous propor- 
tions, who after violent exertions had been squeezed 
between the shafts of the governess-cart, and she now 
stood gazing plaintively at us, and switching her 
flowing tail, while the shafts made grooves for them- 
selves in her fat sides. 

" Sit in now, Miss, and dhrive her out o' the yard." 
My second cousin got in with ease, the step of the 
trap being almost on the ground, owing to the un- 
natural elevation of its shafts, and the mare strode 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 27 

heavily forward. My cousin clutched the front rail 
convulsively 

" I am slipping out ! " she said with a sudden ten- 
sion in her voice. Had she thought of it she might 
have held on by the tail, which hung down like a 
massive bell-rope above her, but as it was, after a 
moment or two of painful indecision, she made a hur- 
ried but safe exit over the door of the trap. The fate 
of the expedition trembled in the balance, and the 
group of spectators who had formed round us began 
to look concerned. The mare was extracted with 
some difficulty from the pinioning shafts, and all 
things were as they were, the governess-cart with its 
shafts on the ground, and my cousin and I with our 
hearts in our boots, when a voice came to us from the 
crowd — 

" Johnny Flaherty have a nice jinnet." 

" A betther never shtud in Galway ! " said another 
voice. " She's able to kill anny horse on the road." 

An excited discussion followed, in the course of 
which it was brought forward as the jennet's strongest 



28 



THROUGH CONNEMARA 



recommendation that she was the daughter of the 
lady whose majestic build had lost to us the enjoy- 




"she's a little giddy about the head, miss." 

ment of her admirable moral qualities. Finally a por- 
tion of the crowd detached itself and ran up the street, 
returning in a few minutes with Johnny Flaherty and 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 29 

a long-legged, long-eared brown animal, which, as it 
approached, cast an eye of sour suspicion upon us and 
its mother. There was no doubt but that this crea- 
ture would fit the trap, but with haunting memories 
of the iniquities of mules and their like we asked if it 
was gentle. 

" She's a little giddy about the head, Miss," said the 
owner diffidently ; " but if ye'll not touch the ears 
she's the quitest little thing at all. Back in, Sibbie ! " 

Sibbie backed in with an almost unwholesome 
.docility, and was harnessed in the twinkling of an eye, 
the lookers-on assisting enthusiastically. She was led 
out of the yard. We got in with Mr. Flaherty, and 
before the crowd had time to cross themselves we were 
out of sight. 

" Perfection ! " I gasped, with the wind whistling in 
my teeth as Sibbie sped like a rat between the shafts 
that had given her good mother her first insight into 
tight lacing. " She goes splendidly — the very thing ! 
but now isn't it time to go back and get in our 
things ? " 



3o THROUGH CONNEMARA 

My cousin did not answer ; she was driving, and 
something told me that the same idea had occurred to 
her. She was leaning rigidly back, and one of her 
gloves had burst at the knuckles. Johnny Flaherty 
extended a large hand and laid it on the reins. 

" She's over-anxious for the road," he said apolo- 
getically, as he brought the jennet to a standstill ; 
M but I'll put a curb-chain on her for ye." 

Wc turned and wheeled back into Oughterard, a 
positive adoration for Sibbie, with her discreet brown 
quarters and slender, rapier-like legs, welling up in us. 
Now, thinking over these things, it seems possible 
that her week's hire approached her net value, but at 
the time of bargaining we felt that her price was far 
above rubies. 

As this is the record of a genuine expedition, it is 
perhaps advisable to say that our luggage consisted of 
a portmanteau, a dressing bag, a well-supplied lun- 
cheon basket, and a large and reliable gingham um- 
brella, purchased for the sum of three shillings in 
Oughterard. We viewed the elaborate stowing of 




"AVE VIEWED THE STOWING OF THE GOVERNESS-CART.' 






IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 33 

these in the governess cart, and then went to Mr. 
Flaherty for his final sailing orders. 

" Ye'll mind her passing Flanigan's ; she have a 
fashion of running in there ; and as for passing our 
own place, I have a boy standin' there now in the 
archway with a stick, the way he'd turn her back out 
of it if she'd make a dart for the stable, and I'll put a 
rope in the thrap for fear anything might break on ye." 

Mr. Flaherty looked a little anxious as he gave us 
these directions, and when he had gone for the rope, 
an old woman, who had been regarding us with a sym- 
pathetic solicitude, came up to my cousin and took 
her by the arm. 

" That the Lord may save yees ! that's all I'll say," 
she groaned ; " if 'twas a horse itself, I'd say nothin', 
but thim mules is nayther here nor there. Sure 
asthore, ye couldn't tell the minnit he'd turn into a 
boghole, when he doesn't know ye, and thim Cunne- 
marra roads has nothin' before him to shtop him only 
the grace of God ! and the wather up aich side of the 
road by yees as deep as a well ! " 



34 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

It was painful to find that Oughterard credited the 
jennet with the sole conduct of the expedition, and 
regarded us as helpless dependents on her will and 
pleasure. But the old woman's agitation was quite 
unaffected, and the last thing we heard, as we flour- 
ished down the main street, was her voice uplifted in 
prayerful lamentation. 

Owing possibly to the fact that Mr. Flaherty's boy 
was demonstrating with the pitch-fork in the arch-way 
leading to the stable, Sibbie made no attempt to 
" dart " into it as her owner had anticipated, and 
nothing marred the dignity of our departure. We 
turned cautiously over the crooked bridge, and drove 
along beside the river, running black under tall trees, 
with patches of foam sailing fast on it. Villas with 
trimly clipped ivy and flower-beds all ablaze were on 
our other hand, surburban in self-respecting neatness, 
romantic by force of surroundings and of something 
old-fashioned and solid in their build. 

" This is the best village for its size this side of 
Galway," said my cousin, with a languid indifference 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 35 

that, as I well knew, masked the seething self-satis- 
faction of the resident in the neighbourhood. " And 
the place has improved so wonderfully. For instance, 
there's the Widow's Almshouse. It isn't so very long 

ago since an old woman 
said to my grandmother, 
' That's the Widdies' Aim- 
house, and sorra widdy in 
it but one little owld man,' 
and now it's simply bursting 
with widows — at least, I 

mean " 

This remarkable illus- 
tration of the prosperity of 
'mr. flahertv's boy was de- Oughterard was suddenly 

MONSTRATING WITH A PITCH- intemipted Wfi ^ for _ 

gotten that the residence of the too fascinating Mr. 
Flanigan was at hand, but not so Sibbie. With the 
subtlety of her race, she cloaked her design in a ful- 
some submissiveness, as the deadly spirit is sheathed 

in the syrup of the liqueur, and turning in full career, 

d 2 




36 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

without so much as an indication from her long ex- 
pressive ears, she made for the gate of which we had 
been warned. By a special interposition of Provi- 
dence it was closed, but we were both jerked forward 
in a very humiliating way, and there was much un- 
seemly hectoring and lashing before we could drag 
her from the haven where she would be. The seeds 
of distrust were from that moment sown in our hearts, 
and we proceeded with a want of confidence that we 
had never afterwards reason to regret. 

A few moments of steep ascent brought us out on 
to the moor that is the entrance to Connemara ; a 
wide brown place of heather and bog, with the sinuous 
shining of the Oughterard river saving it from the 
suspicion of monotony. The level road ran out in 
front of us till it dwindled into a white thread, the 
distant hills were no more than confidential blue hints 
of what we were to see, the sun shone, the strong west 
wind made us rejoice that we had stitched elastic into 
our hats, and the exhilaration of our feelings found 
vent in one passion-fraught word — luncheon. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 37 

A great many people have asked us why we did 
not make our journey through Connemara on tricycles : 
the roads are so good, the mail-cars offer such facili- 
ties for the transport of baggage, the speed and sim- 
plicity are so great. To this we have our reply — 
what then of the luncheon hamper ? These ob- 
jectors have not taken into account the comfortable 
wayside halt by the picturesque and convenient lake ; 
the unpacking of the spirit lamp, and its glittering 
bride the tin kettle, the dinner knives at sixpence 
apiece, the spoons at two-pence-halfpenny ; the pot- 
ted meats, the Bath Olivers, the Bovril and the Bur- 
gundy. In the abstract we are not fond of picnics, 
and agree with the Bard of " Ballads from "Puncli " in 
thinking that — 

They who in contempt, the Dryad's haunts 
Profane with empty bottles and loose papers, 
Find tongues in tarts, ants running on their boots, 
Wasps in the wine, and salt in everything ! 

But a long road and an early breakfast create an 
earnestness and sincerity in the matter of luncheon 



38 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

that were lacking in the artificial junketings of the 
Bard. Certainly, our stopping-places were not such 
as a Dryad could haunt with any degree of comfort. 
On this first day we pulled up under the lee of a low 
bank, one of the few roadside fences we had come to 
in that waste of heather and grey-blue lakes, and 
spread out our eatables on the seats of the cart with a 
kind of bashfulness of the possible passer-by ; a bash- 
fulness soon to be hardened by custom into a brazen 
contempt for even the passing mail-car and the 
fraternal backward grin of its driver. Most people 
who have wolfed the furtive sandwich in a crowded 
railway carriage have felt all of a sudden how gross 
and animal was the action, but how, if persevered in, 
a callous indifference may be attained ; this was the 
case with us. 

After that first lunch the complexion of things 
changed. The wind sharpened into a wet whip, the 
clouds swooped down on the hilltops, the lakes turned 
a ruffled black, like a Spanish hen with its plumage 
blown the wrong way, and the first mishap to the ex- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 



39 



pedition occurred. I turned my head to look with 
mild surprise at the end of an iron bedstead with which 
an ingenious farmer had closed an opening in his stone 
wall, and as I did so my hat soared upwards from 




"WE PURSUED OUR WAY TO RECESS. 



my head, and flew like a live thing towards the lake 
by which we were driving. I followed with as much 
speed as I possess, while my cousin lay in idiot 
laughter in the cart, and had the pleasure of seeing 



4o THROUGH CONNEMARA 

my hat plunge with the clan of a Marcus Curtius into 
a bed of waterlilies by the bank. From this I drew 
it, pale, half-drowned, but sane and submissive ; and 
placing it in solitary confinement at the bottom of the 
trap, I donned a chilly knitted Tarn o'Shanter, and we 
pursued our way to Recess. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 41 



CHAPTER III. 

I DECOROUS black posts, with white tops, on 
either side of a little avenue, a five-pound 
trout laid out on the hall door-steps, with some 
smaller specimens of its kind, a group of anglers 
admiring these, and a fine, unostentatious rain that 
nobody paid any attention to — these were our first 
impressions of the Royal Hotel, Recess. With many 
injunctions as to her " giddiness " about the head, 
Sibbie was commended to the care of a stable-boy, 
and we marched over the corpses of the trout into a 
little hall in which the smell of wet waterproofs and 
fishing tackle reigned supreme. 

Our only information as to the hotels of Conne- 
mara had been gathered from a gentleman whose 
experience dated some thirty years back. He told 
us that on arriving at the hotel to which fate had 



42 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

consigned him, his modest request for something 
more substantial than bread and whisky had been 
received with ill-concealed consternation. A forlorn 
hope of children was sent forth to find and hunt in a 
chicken for his dinner ; he had watched the search, 
the chase, the out-manceuvring of the wily victim ; 
he had heard, tempered by a single plank door, its 
death screech in the kitchen, and he had even gone 
the length of eating it, when it was at last served up 
on a kitchen plate, brown and shrivelled as " She " in 
her last moments, and boiled with a little hot water 
as its only sauce. As to the bedrooms, our friend 
had been almost more discouraging. He said that 
while he was dining he heard a trampling of feet and 
the moving of some heavy body in the passage. The 
door opened, and a feather bed bulged through the 
narrow doorway into the room, and was spread on the 
floor by the tabic. It was then explained that, as he 
had asked for dinner and a bed, sure there they were 
for him, and they were elegant clean feathers, and he 
should have them for eightpence a pound. With 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 



43 



some difficulty the traveller made them understand 
that, though he meant to carry the dinner away with 
him, he had no such intentions with regard to the 
bed ; and after a more lucid setting forth of his 
requirements, his host and hostess grasped the 
position. He was taken into a 
room which was quite filled by 
two immense four-postbeds, and 
having been given to under- 
stand that one was reserved 
for domestic requirements, he 
was offered the other. He was 
on the point of accepting this 
couch when a snore arose from 
its depths. 

" Ah, sure, that's only the 
priest," said the lady of the 
house ; " and he's the qui'test man ever ye seen. 
Gud bless him ! He'll not disturb ye at all." This 
was our friend's experience, and though possibly it 
had gained flavour and body with age, it had, at all 




A FISHERMAN A I RE 



44 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

events, made us look forward with a fearful interest 
to what might be our lot in Connemara. 

But the first vision of the long Recess dinner-table 
dissipated all our hopes of the comic squalor that is 
endured gladly for the sake of its literary value, and 
I may admit that the regret with which my cousin 
and I affected to eat our soup and pursue our dinner 
through its orderly five or six courses was not 
altogether sincere. From one point of view it might 
have been called a fish dinner, as from clear soup, to 
raspberries one topic alone filled the mouths of the 
diners — the outwitting of the wiles of trout and 
salmon. There was a reading-party of Oxford men, 
their blazers glowing rainbow-hued among the murky 
shooting coats of the other diners ; there were young 
curates, and middle-aged majors, and elderly gentle- 
men — to be an elderly gentleman amounts to a pro- 
fession in itself — and all, without exception or inter- 
mission, talked of fish and fishing. Not to talk to the 
comrade of your travels at a table d'hote is an 
admission of failure and incapacity, so much so that 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 45 

rather than sit silent, I would if need were, repeat 
portions of the Church Catechism to my friend in a 
low conversational voice. My cousin and I have 
seldom been forced to this extreme, and on this 
occasion we kept up the semblance of a cultured 
agreeability to one another in a manner that surprised 
ourselves. But the volume of discussion raging round 
us overwhelmed us in the end. We felt the Academy 
and the jennet to be alike an impertinence ; we 
faltered and became silent. 

Opposite to us sat one of the most whole-souled of 
the elderly gentlemen, with a face of the colour and 
glossy texture of Aspinall's Royal Mail red enamel, 
in vigorous conversation with a callow youth in a 
pink blazer, one of whose eyes was closed by midge- 
bites ; and, though the general chorus might rise and 
wane in the long intervals between the courses, their 
strident bass and piping tenor sustained an unflag- 
ging duet. 

" I assure you, my dear sir," protested the elderly 
gentleman, earnestly, with an almost pathetic oblivion 



46 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

of the difference in age between him and his neigh- 
bour, " it is not a matter of a fly with these Glenda- 
lough trout. I have seen a man fail repeatedly with 
a certain butcher, and immediately afterwards the 
same butcher, put pleasantly to a fish, you understand, 
rose him at once." 

" H'm," returned the Pink Blazer, gloomily, re- 
ceiving this, to us, suprising statement, with perfect 
calm, " my experience — and I've fished these lakes 
for years — is that a full-bodied Jock Scott" — but we 
will not betray our ignorance by trying to expound 
second-hand the profundities of the Pink Blazer. 
When they had been given to the world, he hid his 
little midge-bitten face in a tumblerof shandygaff, while 
his aged companion gravely continued the argument. 

There were only two or three other ladies at the 
table, and they evidently had, by long residence in 
the hotel, been reduced to assuming an interest in 
the prevailing topic, which we found hard to believe 
was genuine. They may, of course, have been en- 
thusiasts, but their looks belied them. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 47 

Next morning we were awakened by the babble of 

fishermen in the hall, then the rattle of cars on the 

gravel told that they had started on their daily 

business, and when at a subsequent period we came 

down to breakfast, we found ourselves alone, and the 

hotel generally in a state of peaceful lethargy. It 

was, so we had heard excited voices in the hall 

proclaiming, a splendid day for fishing. This meant 

that when we looked out of the window we saw two 

blurred shadows that we believed to be mountains, 

and heard the rushings of over-fed streams, which, 

thanks to the mist, were quite invisible. But the 

hotel weather-glass stood high, and at ten o'clock we 

were hopeful ; at eleven we were despairing ; at 

twelve we were reckless, and we went to our room to 

get ready for a walk. We have hitherto omitted all 

reference to one important item of our equipment, 

and even now, remembering that we were travelling 

in a proclaimed district, I mention with bated breath 

the fact that my second cousin insisted on taking an 

ancient and rusty revolver with her. She had secretly 



48 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

purchased a box of cartridges, weighing several 
pounds, and at the last moment she had requested me 
to stow this armoury in the travelling-bag — " In case 
of mad dogs and things on the road," she said. The 
pistol, in its leather case, I consented to, but the tin 
box of ammunition was intolerable, and we com- 
promised by putting six cartridges into an " Easy 
Hair Curler " box, which really might have been 
made for them. So far there had been no occasion 
to use it, but now, as my cousin struggled into her 
mackintosh, she remarked tentatively, " Don't you 
think this would be a good day for the revolver? " 

I said I was not much of a judge, but she might 
bring it if she liked ; and having secreted it and a few 
" easy hair curlers " in her mackintosh pocket, she was 
ready for the road. 

We paused in the hall for a last vengeful look at 
the barometer, which still stood cheerfully at Set Fair 
(we believe its constructor to have been a confirmed 
fisherman), and at the door we encountered the two 
hotel dogs — a large silky black creature of the breed 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 



49 



that is generally selected to adorn penwipers, and a 
smirking fox-terrier, with polite, and even brilliant 
manners of a certain flashy hotel sort. 

" Would they come for a walk with the ladies ? " 




THE TWO HOTEL DOGS. 

said I, my voice assuming the peculiar drivelling tone 
supposed to be attractive to dogs. 

The penwiper regarded me with cold amber eyes, 
and composed itself for slumber. 

" Come along, then ! " I said, still more persuasively 
adding, as I stepped out into the thick fine mist, 
" Cats ! " 



50 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

The amber eyes closed, and their owner curled into 
an inky heap with a slumbrous growl ; while the fox- 
terrier, having struck a dashing attitude to keep up 
his character as a sportsman, affected to believe that 
the cats I referred to were in the kitchen, and hurried 
off in that direction. We were snubbed ; and we 
went forth reflecting on the demoralising effect of 
hotel life. Its ever-changing society and friendships 
of an hour had turned the penwiper into an ill-man- 
nered cynic, and the fox-terrier into an effete and 
blase loafer. Thus moralising, we splashed along the 
road, past the little post and telegraph office, where 
you write your telegrams in an arbour of roses, and 
post your letters between the sprays of clematis, and 
struck gallantly forward, with the telegraph posts, 
along the Clifden road. Glendalough lake lay on our 
left hand, and the bare mountains towered up on our 
right — at least, we were given to understand by the 
guide-books and the waiter that they towered, the 
mist allowing us no opportunity of judging for our- 
selves. Across the lake we saw the Glendalough 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 51 

hotel among the woods that came down to the water's 
edsre, and on it — we allude to the lake — were the 
boats of some of the maniacs who had left their 
comfortable asylum in the grey of the morning. We 
did not see them catching any fish ; in fact, we have 
been forced to the conclusion that we had some 
malign influence on the anglers of Connemara, for, 
though we have watched them long and often, we have 
never seen so much as a rise. 

We left the main road at the end of the lake, and 
turned into one running in another direction. It was, 
like every Connemara road, good and level, and in 
perfect order. Like all the others, too, it disdained 
fence or protection of any kind, unless an occasional 
deep ditch or lake on each side can be called a re- 
assurance to the driver. Here and there on the road 
the little black demon cattle were standing disgustedly 
about, declining to eat the wet grass among the 
wetter heather, and concentrating all their attention 
on us in a manner that, taken in connection with the 
most villainous expression of countenance, and horns 

E 2 



52 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

like Malay Krisses, made it advisable to throw stones 
at them while there was yet time. They at once 
withdrew, recognising the fact that is early implanted 
in the mind of every known Irish animal, that sermons 
in stones are unanswerable. We had got on to a long 
stretch of bog road, bounded only by the vaguely 
suggestive mist, and we were beginning to feel the 
ardour for a long walk awakening in us, when we 
heard a strange yelping on the road behind us, and 
looking back, saw a large brindled bulldog advancing 
out of the mist at a lumbering trot. No one was with 
him ; a short piece of rope hung round his collar, and 
his aspect altogether was so terrific that my cousin 
and I again provided ourselves with the national 
weapon, and stood discreetly aside to let him pass. 
He instantly stopped and stared at us in what seemed 
a very threatening manner. 

" Perhaps he's mad ! " I suggested. " Where's the 
gun ? " 

" In my pocket," returned my cousin in a low voice 
" and I can't get it out. It's stuck." 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 55 

" Well, you'd better hurry," I said, " for he's com- 
ing. 

The bulldog was moving slowly towards us, utter- 
ing strange grunts, and looking excitedly round at the 
cattle, who were beginning to close in on us and him. 
My cousin with one strenuous effort ripped the pocket 
off her mackintosh. 

" I've got it at last ! " she panted, putting in a cart- 
ridge with trembling fingers and cocking the pistol. 
" It's awfully stiff, and I know it throws high, but 
anyhow, it will frighten him — I don't really want to 
hit him." 

" For goodness' sake wait till I get behind you," I 
replied. " Now ! " 

There was a report like a cannon, and I saw my 
cousin's arm jerk heavenwards, as if hailing a cab. 
The next moment the cattle were flying to the four 
winds of heaven, and the bulldog, far from being 
alarmed or hurt, was streaking through the heather 
in hot pursuit of the largest cow of the herd. 

This was a more appalling result than we could 



56 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

possibly have anticipated. Not only had we failed 
to intimidate, but we had positively instigated him to 
crime. 

" He's used to guns," I said. " He thinks we are 
cow-shooting." 

" He's gone to retrieve the game," replied my cousin 
in a hollow voice. 

In another instant the bulldog had overtaken his 
prey, and the next, our knees tottering under us with 
horror, we saw him swinging from her nose by his 
teeth, while her bellowings rent the skies. Back she 
came down the hill, flinging her head from side to 
side, while the bulldog adhered with limpet tenacity 
to her nose, and, jumping the bog-ditch like a hunter, 
she set off down the road, followed by a trumpeting 
host of friends and sympathisers who had re-gathered 
from the mountain-side on hearing her cries. The 
whole adventure had been forced upon us so suddenly 
and unexpectedly that we had no time to argue away 
the illogical feeling that we were responsible for the 
bulldog's iniquities. I see now that the sensible thing 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 57 

would have been to have gone and hid about among 
the rocks till it was all over. But that course did not 
occur to us till afterwards. As a matter of fact, my 
cousin crammed the pistol into her uninjured pocket, 
I filled my hands with stones, and we pursued at our 
best speed, seeing from time to time above the heav- 
ing backs and brandished tails of the galloping cattle 
the dark body of the bulldog as he was swung into 
the air over his victim's head. Suddenly the whole 
cortege wheeled, and flourished up a bohireen that led 
to a cottage, and in the quick turn the cow fell on her 
knees, and lay there exhausted, with the bulldog prone 
beside her, exhausted too, but still holding on. The 
presumable owner of the cow arrived on the scene at 
the same instant that we did. 

" Call off yer dog ! " he roared, in a fearful voice. 

" He's not ours ! " we panted ; " but come on, and 
we'll beat him off ! " the bulldog's evident state of 
collapse encouraging us to this gallantry. 

The man's only reply was to pick up a large stone, 
and heave it at the dog. It struck his brindled ribs 



58 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

a resounding blow, but he was too much blown to 
bear malice satisfactorily ; to our deep relief he 
crawled to his feet, slunk away past us on to the main 
road, and, setting off at a limping trot in the direction 
from which he had come, presently vanished into the 
mist. 

The man stooped down and examined the poor 
cow's torn and bleeding nose, and she lay, wild-eyed, 
with heaving sides, at our leet. 

" That the divil may blisther the man that owns 
him ! " he said ; " and if he isn't your dog, what call 
have you taking him out to be running my cows ? " 

" We met him on the road," we protested. " We 
couldn't help his following us." 

" Aha ! thin it's one of them dirty little fellows of 
officers that has the fishing lodge below that he be- 
longs to ! " said the man. " I heard a shot awhile 
ago, and ye may b'lieve me I'll have the law o' 
them." 

We exchanged guilty glances. 

" Yes ; I heard a shot, too," I said nervously. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 59 

" Well, I — a — I think we must be getting on now. 
It's getting late, and — a — I hope the cow isn't very 
bad. Anyhow " — my voice sinking into the indistinct 
mumble that usually accompanies the benefaction — 
" here's something to get soft food for her till her nose 
gets well." 

The ambition for the long walk was dead. With 
more hurried good wishes and regrets we wished the 
man good evening, and so home, much shattered. 

P.S. — We should like to meet the owner of that 
bulldog. 



6o THROUGH CONNEMARA 



CHAPTER IV. 

O IBBIE looked as suspicious and unamiable as ever 
^ when she came to the door next morning ; her 
long day in the stable had evidently not pro- 
pitiated her in the least, but to her subtle mind had 
only augured a journey of unprecedented length on 
the following day. We started, however, with great 
brilliancy, and with a vulgar semi-circular sweep, like 
a shop-boy making a capital letter, that Sibbie con- 
sidered very telling when in society. It took altogether 
by surprise the penwiper dog, who, with a little more 
than his usual elaborate ill-breeding, was standing 
with his back to us, looking chillingly unconcerned, 
and compelled him to show the most humiliating 
adroitness in order to escape from Sibbie's venomous 
fore-feet. The incident rounded off pleasingly our 
last impressions of Recess, and we whirled out on to 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 61 

the main road in a manner that nearly took our 
breath away, and probably left the gate-post in a 
state of hysterical gratitude at its escape. 

It was not raining, but the day had got itself up to 
look as like rain as possible, and was having a great 
success in the part. A rough wind was blowing the 
clouds down about us, and, as on the day before, the 
hills hid their heads and shoulders in the odious mist, 
leaving only their steep sides visible, with the wrath- 
ful white watercourses scarring them, like perpendicu- 
lar scratches on a slate. It was on one of these hills 
that a tourist missed his footing last year in trying to 
get to the bottom faster than someone else ; the 
heather clump broke from the edge of the ravine, and 
the young fellow went with it. They searched for 
him all the summer night, and next morning a shep- 
herd found him, dead and mutilated, at the foot of 
the cliff. We drove on steadily by bare bog and 
rocky spur for three or four miles, with the wind hard 
in our faces, till we came to a cross road, where a 
double line of telegraph wires branched from the 



62 THROUGH CON NE MARA 

single one, and following, according to directions 
the double one, we left the mail-car road behind. 
The wind now screamed into our right ears, and 
Sibbie's long tasselled tail, which before had streamed 
back out of sight Under the cart, turned like a weather 
cock and swept out in front of the left wheel. It was 
not a pleasant day for seeing one of the show places 
of Connemara, but it was the best and only one we 
could afford ; besides, from what we had heard of 
Ballinahinch, it seemed as if it would be able to 
bear an unbecoming atmosphere better than most 
places. 

It need scarcely be said that the new road ran by 
a lake, or lakes ; every road we have seen in Conne- 
mara makes for water like an otter, and finds it with 
seeming ease, sometimes even succeeding in getting 
into it. In a forlorn hollow by one of these lakes, we 
came on a little Roman Catholic chapel, with its 
broken windows boarded up, and its graveyard hud- 
dled under a few wind-worn trees on the hill behind. 
Crooked wooden crosses, or even a single upright 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 63 

stake, were the landmarks of the dead ; perhaps in a 
country where trees take more trouble to preserve 
than game, and are far more rare, a piece of timber is 
felt to be more honourable than the stone that lies 
profusely ready to the hand. The graveyard trees 
quivered rheumatically in the wind, long bending 
before it in one direction having stiffened them past 
waving ; the pale water chafed and sighed in a rushy 
creek below ; even Sibbie chafed and sighed as 
we stood still to look back, and she took at least 
ten yards of the hill at full gallop when we started 
her again. 

As we drove along the high ground beyond, Bal- 
linahinch came slowly into sight ; a long lake in a 
valley, a long line of wood skirting it, and finally, on a 
wooded height, the Castle, as it is called, a large 
modern house with a battlemented top, very gentle- 
manlike, and even handsome, but in no other way 
remarkable. 

It was not the sort of thing we had expected. We 
had heard a great deal about Mary Martin, who was 



64 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

called the Princess of Connemara forty years ago ; 
we had read up a certain amount of Lever's " Martins 
of Cro' Martin," of which she was the heroine, and 
knew from other sources something of her gigantic 
estate, of the ruin of it during the famine, of the way 
in which she and her father completed that ruin by 
borrowing money to help their starving tenants, and 
of her tragic death, when she had lost everything, and 
had left Ireland for ever. We were prepared for any- 
thing, from an acre of gables and thatch to a twelfth 
century tower with a dozen rooms one on top of the 
other, and a kerne or a gallowglass looking out of every 
window, but this admirable mansion with plate-glass 
windows, and doubtless hot water to the very garrets, 
shook down our sentimentalities like apples in autumn. 
We drove on in silence. I knew that my cousin felt 
apologetic. 

" I believe I had forgotten," she said, " that it 
was Mary Martin's father who built this, sixty or 
seventy years ago. Of course you couldn't expect it 
to look old." 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 6j 

" No, of course not," I replied, " and even if I 
did I don't think it would be much use. That house 
is too conscientious to look .a day older than its 
age." 

We arrived at the gate while I spoke, a modest 
entrance to what seemed a back road to the house, 
and Sibbie turned in at it with her usual alacrity in 
the matter of visiting. She would visit at a public- 
house, at a pigstye, at a roofless ruin, anywhere rather 
than go along the road. The picnic was beginning ; 
certainly the view was. We looked along the lake 
and saw how it coiled and spread among its wooded 
islands ; the shrouded hill behind it gave for the 
moment some indication of its greatness ; there was 
no doubt that even at its worst, as it undoubtedly 
was, Ballinahinch was worth seeing. 

The wind fought with us along the first stretch of 
the drive, dragging at our hat pins, lifting the rug off 
our knees ; blowing our hair in our eyes ; but at the 
first turning a great and sudden calm fell about us. 
For the first time in our travels we were in a large 

F 2 



6$ THROUGH CONNEMARA 

plantation. Some local genius once said that " Conne- 
mara got a very wooded look since them telegraph 
posts was put up in it," and after many a drive in 
which the line of black posts dwindling to the horizon 
was the only break in the barrenness we began to 
understand this. Here at all events the civilising 
hand had done its work, and we slackened pace in the 
greenness and shelter, and, fortified by the know- 
ledge that the present owner of the place was far away, 
we began to think of luncheon. My cousin pacified 
the fly-tormented Sibbie with a few handfuls of fresh 
grass, and got out our pewter spoons and other ele- 
gances of the luncheon table, while I, grovelling on 
the floor of the cart, nurtured there the spirit-lamp 
through one of its most implacable moods. There 
was a charming stillness, broken only at 'first by the 
occasional heavy splash of a leaping salmon in the 
lake below, and by Sibbie's leisurely mastications, 
then the first sulky sigh came from the tin kettle, and 
a long beckoning finger of blue flame darted from 
beneath it. 1 hat was a weird habit of the spirit-lamp, 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 69 

to beckon to us when the kettle began to boil, and on 
this occasion it did not play us false. We made our 
homely cup of Bovril, we devoured our cheese, we 
crunched our Bath Olivers, and it was just then, when 
the seats of the trap were covered with cups and 
crumbs, and we were altogether at our grimiest, that 
we heard wheels close at hand. 

My cousin at once showed a tendency to get over 
the wall and hide, leaving undivided degradation to 
• me, but the descent to the lake on the other side was 
too steep. As she turned back discomforted I was 
quite glad to see how dishevelled she looked, and how 
crooked her hat was, and before any remedial steps 
could be taken the Philistines were upon us. They 
consisted of four young men, crowded on a car with 
their fishing-rods and baskets, and, to do them justice, 
they, after a first stare of astonishment, considerately 
averted their eyes from the picnic. The narrowness 
of the road made it necessary that they should pass 
at a walk, and it was at that moment, while we were 
affecting unconsciousness of all things in heaven and 



70 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

earth, that the nightmare of yesterday rose up before 
us — the bulldog. He was close behind the axle of 
the car, fastened to it, thank heaven, with a glittering 
chain, but between the spokes of the wheel we saw 
his eyes rolling at us with a bloodshot amiability or 
even recognition, while his crooked tail wagged stiffly, 
and his terrible nose twitched amorously towards the 
Bath oliver I held in my hand. The car quickened 
up again, and he dragged at his chain as he was 
forced into a shuffling trot along with it. "Come in, 
Stripes," shouted one of the youths, and the party 
passed out of sight. 

" Did you see him ? " I said excitedly. " I believe 
he knew us ! " 

"Of course he did," returned my cousin, with an 
offensive coolness that was intended to carry off any 
recollections of her dastardly moment of panic, " but 
he won't tell. He knows if he gives us away about 
the revolver we will inform about the cow. For my 
part I'm rather sorry he isn't here now," she went on, 
as she wiped a knife in the grass, and then stabbed it 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 73 

into the earth to give it a polish ; "no picnic should 
be without a dog. When I was a child we used 
always to wipe the knives on the dogs' backs between 
the courses at a picnic, and then the dogs used to try 

and lick that spot on their backs " 

I am not squeamish, but I checked my cousin's 
recital at this point, and we pursued our way to the 
house. Tall sliding doors, in perfect order, admitted 
us to a large quiet yard, so orderly that, as we looked 
round it, we felt, like Hans Andersen's black beetle, 
quite faint at the sight of so much cleanliness, and 
would have been revived by the only familiar whiff of 
the cow-shed and pigstye. We gave Sibbie and her lun- 
cheon bag to a man who was hanging about, and were 
proceeding to ask whether we might walk about the 
grounds, when a door into the house opened, and there 
issued from it a young woman of such colossal height 
and figure that we stared at her awe-struck. She 
smiled at us with all the benevolence of the giantess, 
and advancing, offered to be our guide. We thanked 
her like Sunday School children and followed her 



74 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

meekly towards the hall door, feeling as we looked at 
her that it would have been simpler to have climbed 
on to her tremendous shoulders and got at once a 
bird's-eye view of the demesne. It was apparently 
part of the programme that we should see the inside 
of the house, and she led us through the rooms in the 
lower story, billiard-room, dining-room, drawing-room, 
library ; all comfortable, and in their way imposing, 
but unfortunately devoid of special objects to com- 
ment on, while the giantess stood and held the door 
of each open, with, as it seemed to us, an ogress-like 
avidity for approbation. But she proved to be a 
kindly giantess, and when we looked, in spite of our- 
selves, a little unenthusiastic at the prospect of view- 
ing the upper part of the house she relented and said 
we might go out into the grounds. 

The hill sloped steeply from the dining-room win- 
dows, to the lake in front, and to a wood at the side, 
and going down some steps we found ourselves in a 
shady walk by the water. 

" This is Miss Martin's seat," said the giantess, stop- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART, 75 

ping in front of a curiously-shaped and comfortless- 
looking stone block, " ye can sit in it if ye like." 

We did so, gently. 

" How very nice," said my cousin, getting up again, 
and removing an earwig and some dead leaves of last 
year from her skirt, " but I should have thought she 
would have liked more of a view. Those laurels two 
yards off are very pretty of course, but one can't see 
anything else." 

I saw an antagonistic gleam in the giantess's eye 
and hastened to suggest that the laurels might have 
grown up since the days of Mary Martin. 

" Whether or no, it's in it she used to sit," she said, 
as if that settled the question of the view. " Maybe 
ye'd like now to walk a piece in the woods to see 
them ? " 

" I suppose it would take us a long time to walk 
through such large woods as these ? " I said lusciously , 
seeing that I was regarded with more favour than my 
cousin. 

" Is it walk thim woods ? Ye'd sleep, before ye'd 



76 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

have them walked. But there's a nice road round to 
the boathouse ye can go." 

" Perhaps you could tell me how many acres there 
are in this estate ? " said my cousin, trying to make 
hay in my private streak of sunshine. 

" I declare I'm not rightly sure." 

" I suppose they're past counting ? " continued my 
cousin, with the fascinating smile of one who is sus- 
taining a conversation brilliantly. 

" About that," responded the giantess lucidly, de- 
termined at all hazards to keep pace with outside 
opinion. " Here now is the little road I was tellin' ye 
of. Would ye know the way in it ? " 

We assured her we could find the boathouse with- 
out her help, and " so in all love, we parted." 

As we walked on in the solitude the lake narrowed 
beside us to a river, a connecting channel between it 
and the larger lake beyond, and the water ran strong 
and quiet under the meeting branches that leaned 
above it from both sides. The dark mirror reflected 
every twig ; brown stems, green canopy, and opening 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 7; 

of grey sky arched away beneath our feet as well as 
above our heads ; we became at last giddy with the 
double world, and felt our eyes cling instinctively to 
the silver smear on the glassy surface or the golden 
gleam in the shallow that testified to where illusion 
began. Once or twice there was a splash that sounded, 
in that silence, as if a large stone had been thrown in ; 
we were, of course, looking the wrong way each time, 
and instead of seeing the flash of a ten or twenty 
pound fish we saw only the rift in the crystal, and the 
big ripples following each other to the shore. Once 
only in Galway did we see live fish without stint or 
hindrance, when, afterwards, we leaned over the 
bridge in Galway town itself, and could have counted 
by the hundred the dark backs of the salmon that lie 
all day still and shadowy in the clear water below the 
weir. 

We were soon out again by the upper lake, and, 
much beset by flies and midges, walked along the 
edge of the wood till we came to the boathouse. On 
its broad steps we sat thankfully down to rest, and 



7 8 THR O UGH CON NEMARA 

commented at our leisure on the atrocities of the grey 
weather, and of the cloud that was cloaking the peak 
of the mountain opposite. We happened to know 
that there ought to be a mountain there, one of the 
Twelve Pins, in fact, but for all we could see, it might 
have flown into the Atlantic Ocean, in search of 
something less watery than Connemara. As we sat 
there, and saw the invariable fisherman catching the 
inevitable nothing, and looked at the dark sheet of 
water in its beautiful setting of trees, my cousin told 
me drowsily several things about Mary Martin. I 
cannot now recall the recital very clearly, but I re- 
member hearing how Miss Martin had taken a guest 
up the mountain that should have been soaring into 
the heavens before us, and, making him look round 
the tremendous horizon* had told him how everything 
he could see belonged to her. If the weather had 
been like ours, it would not have been a very over- 
powering statement, limited, in fact, to the cloud of 
mist and Miss Martin's umbrella ; but as it was, with 
the inland mountains and moors clear to the bluest 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 79 

distance, and the far Atlantic rounding her fifty miles 
of sea-coast, it was a boast worth making. Perhaps 
it was the vision that was clearest to her failing sense 
when she lay dying on the other side of that Atlantic 
without an acre and without an income, a refugee from 
the country where her forefathers had prospered during 
seven hundred years. 

The retrospect became melancholy, and we began 
to be extremely chilly ; sitting out of doors was too 
severe a test for this July day, and we made towards 
the house again. When we were nearing Mary 
Martin's seat we saw through the trees a brilliant 
spot of colour, which gradually developed into a 
scarlet petticoat, worn shawl-wise about the head of 
an old woman who had sat down in a tattered heap 
to rest on the stone bench. She put away something 
like a black pipe as we came up, and began the usual 
beggar's groaning, and when, after some fumbling, 
my cousin produced a modest coin, the ready bless- 
ings were followed by the ready tears, that welled 
trom hideously inflamed eyes, and trickled over the 



So Through connemara 

wrinkles in her yellow cheeks. It occurred to us to 
ask whether she remembered Mary Martin, and in a 
moment the tears stopped. 

" Is it remember her ? " she said, wiping her eyes 
with some skill on a frayed corner of the red petti- 
coat. " I remember her as well as yerself that I'm 
looking at ! " 

" What was she like in the face ? " said my cousin 
in her richest brogue. 

" Oh musha ? Ye couldn't rightly say what was 
she like, she was that grand ! She was beautiful and 
white and charitable, only she had one snaggledy 
tooth in the front of her mouth. But what signifies 
that ? Faith, whin she was in it the ladies of Conne- 
mara might go undher the sod. 'Twas as good for 
thim. And afther all they say she died as silly as ye 
plase down in the County Mee-yo (Mayo), but there's 
more tells me she died back in Ameriky. Oh, glory 
be to God, thim was the times ! " 

The tears began again, and she relapsed into the 
red petticoat. We left her there, huddled on the seat 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 81 

moaning and talking to herself. We could do no 
more for her than hope, as we looked back at her for 
the last time, that the pipe in her pocket had gone 
out. The day was slipping by ; a twelve mile drive 
to Letterfrack was before us. Taking all things into 
consideration, especially Sibbie's powers as a roadster, 
we hardened our hearts to starting at once, without 
taking the half-mile walk to see the wonderful stables 
that cost Colonel Martin £1 5,000 to build, and are 
paved with blocks of the green and white Connemara 
marble. Let us trust that our intended admiration 
was conveyed in some form to that costly marble 
flooring, in spite of an unpleasant saying about good 
intentions and a certain pavement that is their 
destination. 



8 2 THROUGH CONNEMARA 



CHAPTER V. 

F T was nearly four o'clock before we got out of the 
A Ballinahinch avenue on to the Clifden road. A 
young horse had got loose in the yard just as 
Sibbie was having her toilet made for the start, and 
the clattering of hoofs and cracking of whips that 
ensued had so upset her old-maidish sensibilities, that 
she refused to leave the stable, till finally, by a noble 
inspiration on our part, she was backed out of it. 
She had started from the yard in a state of mingled 
resentment and terror ; even still her ears were 
fluttering like the wings of a butterfly, and she 
showed a desire to canter that seemed to us unhealthy. 
The shrunken oat bag lay at our feet ; decidedly she 
had had more luncheon than was good for her while 
we were walking ourselves off our legs in the woods of 
Ballinahinch. The broad lake lay on our left, show- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 83 

ing coldly and mysteriously through the changing 
swathes of mist, and above us, on our left, the long 
slopes of bog and heather stretched upwards till they 
steepened into the dignity of actual mountains. 

" If I thought the weather could not hear me," 
observed my second cousin, " I should say it was 
going to clear up. It looks almost as if there were 
sunlight on those children's petticoats ahead of us." 
An enchanting group was advancing to meet us ; 
half-a-dozen or so of children, boys and girls petti- 
coated alike in mellow varieties of the dull red or 
creamy white Galway flannel, a few cattle wandered 
in front of them, and in their midst a long-suffering 
donkey was being ridden by three of them and 
beaten by the remainder. We were so absorbed in 
sitting with our heads on one side to better appreciate 
the artistic unity of the picture that we took no heed 
of the dangerous forward slant of Sibbie's ears. No 
one could have supposed that in her short intimacy 
with " the quality " she could have already developed 

a fine-ladyish affectation of horror at the sight of an 

g 2 



84 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

estimable poor relation ; yet so it was. Casting one 
wild look at the appalling spectacle, she sprang side- 
ways across the road, whirled the trap round, only 
avoiding the black bog-ditch by a hair's breadth, and 
fled at full speed in the direction from which she had 
just come. 

My cousin and I were for the moment paralysed by 
surprise, and by the sudden horrid proximity of the 
bog-ditch, which was hospitably prepared to take us 
all in and do for us, and think nothing of it. Sibbie's 
strong little brown back was hooped with venomous 
speed, and her head was out of sight between her 
forelegs. The telegraph posts were blended into a 
black streak, the lakes swam past us like thoughts in 
a dream, it seemed useless to get out to go to her 
head ; obviously, Sibbie was running away. The 
governess cart quite entered into the spirit of the 
thing, and leaped and bounded along in a way that 
— considering its age and profession; — we thought 
very unbecoming. It is perhaps a.fa$on de parler to 
say that I was driving. To put it more accurately, I 





■-. I 

■E a 




/A A GOVERNESS-CART. 87 

had been driving, and now I was trying very hard to 
do the opposite. However, after laying the seeds of 
two blisters in vain, I was ignominiously compelled 
to hand one rein to my cousin. Hanging on each to 
our rein, we lay back in the trap, getting a good lever- 
age for our pull over the ridge of the luncheon 
basket. I shudder to think of the result had those 
reins broken. Two human Catherine wheels would 
have been seen revolving rapidly over the stern of the 

governess-cart, and as for Sibbie But the reins 

were staunch, and though at first a want of unanimity 
caused us to swing from side to side of the road in a 
series of Vandykes, the combined weight of the 
expedition slowly told, and Sibbie's ears were hauled 
into sight. Back and up they came till they were 
laid along her back, and her long nose pointed sky- 
wards in a fury of helpless protest, while her gallop 
grudgingly slackened. 

Of course my hat had blown off early in the pro- 
ceedings, but nothing else had happened. I handed 
my rein to my cousin without a word, and got out of 
the trap. 



88 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" No doubt this had been extremely amusing," 
I said, "but I am going to buckle the reins as low 
down on this bit as they will go." 

And I did so. I hate people who do nothing but 
laugh on an emergency, simply because they think it 
looks brave. 

As I turned Sibbie round I saw, nearly a quarter of 
a mile away, a child standing by a telegraph post, 
holding in its hand a white disc that I knew must be 
my hat, and I also saw with much pleasure that the 
other children, with the cows and the donkey, had left 
the road, and were climbing up the hillside. So, with 
hearts overflowing with a great thanksgiving that 
" Earl Percy," i.e. y the mail-car and its English 
tourists, had not " seen our fall," we drove back again 
at a cautious jog, Sibbie obviously as much on the 
look-out as we were for anything that she could 
reasonably shy at. The girl with the hat was 
regarded by her with an anguish of suspicion, only 
allayed by my getting out of the cart while the hat 
was smuggled in, and leading her — a process which 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 89 

always suggests taking a child by the hand to give it 
confidence. 

It was a long way, about six Irish miles, back to the 
turn that we had been instructed would take us to 
Letterfrack, and the invalid sunshine had already 
swaddled itself again in cotton wool and retired for 
the night. If my second cousin has a failing, it is 
that she believes herself to possess " an eye for 
country," a gift fraught with peril to its possessor. 
Unfortunately, she had, before starting, studied on a 
map the relative positions of Ballinahinch, Recess, 
and Letterfrack, and now that she was face to face 
with the situation her eye for country flashed fire at 
the idea of having to traverse two sides of a triangle 
instead of one, which was pretty much what we were 
called upon to do. 

" It is absurd," she said, hotly, " to go back almost to 
Recess to go by that ' new line ' to Letterfrack, when 
I am almost sure I remember seeing on the Ordnance 
Map a dear little roadeen that would take us through 
the mountains somehow on to the Kylemore road." 



go THROUGH CONNEMARA 

From the use of the affectionate diminutive 
" roadeen," I knew that my cousin was trying to 
engage my sympathies, and though I tried to steel 
my heart against the suggestion, there certainly was 
something attractive in the thought of a short cut. 

" It ought to be a little further on," she continued, 
11 by a little lake ; and you know it's getting pretty 
late now." 

I now recognise that this was the moment at which 
to have stamped upon the scheme, and to have made 
the time-honoured remark that we had no time for 
short cuts. But I let it slide by me, and when we 
reached a narrow, but to all appearance sufficient 
mountain road, bending plausibly away to the left, we 
mutually succumbed to its fascinations. For a mile 
or so it was really very fair. It certainly did occur 
to me that it might be awkward if we met anything 
larger than a wheelbarrow, as the governess-cart easily 
monopolised the space between the usual bog-ditches, 
but as, so far, the district seemed quite uninhabited, 
we did not trouble ourselves on that account. The 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 91 

road became steeper and stonier as we advanced, but 
Sibbie toiled on gallantly, the pride of having run 
away clearly still working in her and encouraging her 
in a way no mere whip could have done. The cotton- 
wool into which the sun had retreated had now 
covered all the sky, and was wrapping up the 
mountain tops as if they were jewellery, which, as 
they were armoured from head to foot in sheets of 
grey rock, seemed to us unnecessary care. We were 
getting deeper and deeper into the hills, and the 
higher we got the heavier the rain became. It felt as 
though some important heavenly pipe had burst, and 
we were getting near the scene of the explosion. The 
three shilling umbrella did its best ; it humped its 
back against the torrent like an old cab-horse, and 
really kept my second cousin fairly dry. But things 
were going very badly with the luncheon basket, and, 
though we did not mention it to each other, the belief 
in the short cut was dying in us. 

The road ahead was narrowing in a way not to be 
accounted for by the laws of perspective ; it was 



92 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

becoming suspiciously grassy, and rocks of a size 
usually met with only in the highest Druidical circles 
lay about so near to the track that steering was 
becoming a difficulty. A wild-looking women, wear- 
ing a coarse white flannel petticoat over her red hair 
instead of a cloak, came paddling along with bare- 
footed indifference to the wet, and stopped to stare at 
us with a frank and open-mouthed amazement which 
was not reassuring. 

" Shall we ask her the way ? " I suggested. 

" It's no good," replied my cousin, sombrely ; 
" we must go on now. It's too narrow to turn 
round. Let's get on to those cottages and ask some- 
one there." 

(The belief in the short cut here heaved its final 
groan and expired.) 

We had climbed to a kind of small plateau in the 
heart of the hills, and on the farther side of the little 
indigo lake round which the track wound were a 
couple of cottages. We beat Sibbie into a trot, and 
made for the nearer of the two, and the barking of the 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 93 

usual cur having brought a young man out of the 
house, my cousin proceeded to discourse him. 

" Are we going right for Kylemore ? " 

" Yo're not." 

" Where does this road lead to ? " 

"To the Widda Joyce's beyant." 

" And is that the end of it ? Can't we get on any 
farther ? " 

The young man looked at us much as an early 
Roman might have regarded the Great Twin 
Brethren. 

" Bedad I dunno what yerselves is able to do ; but 
there's no answerable road for a cart whatever " 

Our eyes met in dumb despair, but my second 
cousin still rose above the waves. (This metaphor is 
most appropriate, as we could not have been much 
wetter if we had been drowned.) 

" Where is the nearest hotel ? " she asked, with all 
the severity of an examining Q.C. 

" Back in Recess. Ye'd be hard set to get there to- 
night." 



94 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" Think now, like a good boy, is there no sort of a 
place hereabouts where they'd put us up for the one 
night ? " 

The despairing relapse into the vernacular had its 
effect. 

" Well, faith, I wouldn't say but the Widda Joyce 
'd be apt to be able to do it. There was an English 
gintleman, a Major, that she had there for the fish- 
in' " 

In what capacity the English Major was used in the 
fishing we did not stop to inquire ; he might have 
been employed as a float for all we cared ; it was 
about all we felt ourselves fit for. 

We did not ask the Widow Joyce if she could take 
us in. We simply walked into her house and stayed 
there. • We had heard a good deal of the Spanish type 
of beauty that is said to abound in Connemara, but 
the Widow Joyce was the first specimen of it that we 
had seen. A small, pale, refined woman, with large 
brown eyes, and dark hair tucked shiningly away 
under a snowy white frilled cap, she heard our story 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 95 

with flattering interest and compassion, and we had 
hardly finished it before most of her eleven children 
were started in different directions to prepare things 
for us and " the pony." By-the-bye, we noticed that 
during our travels Sibbie was always given brevet 
rank, the delicate inference being that we were far too 
refined and aristocratic to be associated with anything 
so vulgar as a jennet. 

A lovely clear fire of turf was burning on the hearth, 
and Mrs. Joyce hospitably insisted on our each sitting 
on little stools inside the big fireplace, and roasting 
there, till the steam of our sacrifice showed how neces- 
sary a proceeding it was. In the meantime that 
sacred place known as " Back-in-the-room " was being 
prepared for our reception ; as far though we should 
have preferred the kitchen with its clean earth floor 
and blazing fire, Mrs. Joyce would not hear of our 
having our dinner there. 

" Sure the Meejer always ate his vittles back in the 
room," she said ; and to this supreme precedent we 
found it necessary to conform. 



96 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

We certainly owed a great deal to the Meejer. It 
was the Meejer, we discovered, who had broken an 

air-hole in the hermetically-sealed window. " An' 
faith, though he give us the money to put in the glass 
agin, we never got it done afther. It's a very back- 
wards place here." The Meejer's sense of decorum 
had prescribed the muslin certains that shielded the 
interior from the rude gazer's eye. The Meejer had 
compelled the purchase of a jug and basin, and " a 
beautiful clane pair o' sheets, that not a one ever slep 
in but himself." In fact, what of civilisation there was, 
was due to his beneficent influence, and we rose up 
and said that the Meejer was blessed. Our dinner 
was an admirable meal ; a blend of the resources of 
the luncheon-basket and of Mrs. Joyce ; its only draw- 
back being that, forgetful, as she herself admitted, of 
the precepts of the Meejer, she had put the teapot 
down " on the coals to dhraw," and the result was a 
liquid that would have instantly made me sick, and 
would have kept my second cousin awake in agony 
till she died next morning. So we avoided the tea. 




SITTING ON LITTLE STOOLS INSIDE THE BIG FIREPLACE. ' 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 99 

" Back in the room " was a small whitewashed place 
with an earthern floor as clean, though not quite as 
dry, as the one in the kitchen. A big four-poster bed 
filled one end of it, and a red painted press, a square 
table, a huge American chest with the washing appa- 
ratus on it, and two or three chairs, were the rest of 
the furnishing. But though the upholstery was of a 
simple character, it was evident that the decorative 
sense was not lacking. The walls were lavishly hung 
with fervidly coloured religious prints ; two or three 
sheets of an illustrated fishing fly-list had a place of 
honour near the widow's patron saint over the fire- 
place, the gorgeous salmon flies being probably re- 
garded by the younger Joyces as portraits of some 
new kind of angel ; and drapery's adventitious aid was 
lent by the suspended wardrobe of the family, both 
male and female, which relieved the severities of the 
bedposts, and gave a little air of interesting mystery 
to the corners of the room. Rather more than half 
the room had a rough ceiling of boards, and near the 

door we noticed a ladder leading up to the loft thus 

h 2 



ioo THROUGH CONNEMARA 

made. We had felt anxious about the bestowal of the 
widow and her family, not knowing what duties the 
four-poster might not be called upon to perform, and 
as the witching hour of ten o'clock drew nigh, and the 
low murmur of Joyce discourse still continued, we 
had made up our minds to ask what the arrangements 
might be, when there came a tap at the door. 

" I beg yer honour's pardon, Miss," said our hostess' 
soft, polite voice, " but would there be any harm in 
meself and the children goin' above up to the loft ? " 

We said no, quite the contrary, and after some whis- 
pering and giggling outside the door, a procession of 
Joyces slowly filed up the ladder, headed by the younger 
sons of the house, and followed by the widow and the 
daughters. The last pair of stout red legs was hoisted 
off the ladder, the rustling and pounding overhead 
gradually subsided, and my second cousin and I found 
ourselves face to face with the most serious situation 
— not excepting either the bulldog or the runaway — 
of the expedition. The fear of interruption had 
hitherto prevented us from making as thorough inves- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. iot 

tigation as we might have wished, and now we " stared 
at each other with a wild surmise, silent upon a peak 
in Darien." Then she said — 

" I'll look." 

She turned down the bedclothes with a stiff, nervous 
hand. " They seem pretty clean," she said at last ; 
" they mayn't perhaps have been washed very lately, 
but I think they must have dusted them. I can only 
see one crumb and a used wax match." 

The account was not encouraging, but it might 
have been worse. Of the sufferings of that night, 
however, as much cannot be said. After our occu- 
pancy of that bed, not one used match, but twenty, 
might have been collected. In explanation of this 
circumstance, I will merely quote one line from the 
charming duet for bass and tenor in The Lily of Kil- 
larney — 

To light the way, to flea my love. 



io2 THROUGH CONNEMARA 



CHAPTER VI. 

r^ROM the indications given in the last chapter, the 
A intelligent reader will probably have gathered 
the fact that we did not sleep well. 

" It isn't the little bit they ates I begridges them," 
quoted my cousin, as in one of the long watches of the 
night she wearily lit her candle for the nineteenth 
time, " but 'tis the continial thramplin' they keeps up." 

Even when the greater part of these foes was either 
gorged or slain, the sleep that hummed its mellow 
harmonies in the loft over our heads held far from us, 
tossing and stifling among feathers and flock pillows. 
It must have been about two a.m., and I had just, by 
various strategies, induced myself to go to sleep, when 
I was once more awakened, this time by a convulsive 
clutch of my arm. 

" Pon't stir ! " whispered my second cousin, in a 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 103 

voice so low that it felt like one of my own dreams, 
" but listen ! " 

A stealthy sound, as of a slow, barefooted advance, 
crept to us, buried though we were in the perfumed 
depths of the flock pillows. 

" Whatever it is, it came out from under the bed," 
breathed my cousin, "and it has gone twice round the 
room — looking for our money, I expect ! " 

The steps ceased for a moment, then there came a 
sound as of a little rush towards the bed, and in an 
instant something with loud flappings and rustlings 
had descended upon us, and rested heavily, with hollow 
cacklings of contentment, upon our buried forms (for 
I suppose I need hardly state that we had both bolted 
under the bedclothes). 

" I believe it's only the goose after all ! " I said, as 
soon as I was sufficiently recovered to speak. 

" Only the goose ! " returned my second cousin, with 
concentrated fury ; " I don't see much to be grateful 
for in that. And how do you know it isn't the gan- 
der ? I'm simply stifling here, but I know the brute 



io 4 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

would peck me if I went out from under the clothes. 
I wish to goodness it had been a burglar. Anyhow, 
they don't peck." 

This was indisputable ; as was also the fact that the 
bird had to be dislodged. She had worked herself 
into a position that was probably more satisfactory to 
her than it was to me, and judging, as I was well able 
to do, by her weight, she must have been a remarkably 
strong and vigorous bird. 

" Get the matches ready," I said, gathering myself 
for an effort. Then, curving myself till the goose 
must have thought she was sitting on a camel, I gave 
a heaving plunge. There was a croak, a flop, and a 
minute afterwards the light of a match revealed a 
monstrous grey goose standing in pained astonishment 
on the floor near the bed. 

Fortunately the profundities of Joyce repose knew 
no disturbance, and, still more providentially, the three 
shilling umbrella was within reach of the bed. Open- 
ing this as a safeguard against an attack, which in our 
then thin costume we should be ill-fitted to with- 




REVEALED A MONSTROUS GREY GOOSE. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 107 

stand, we gently but firmly ushered the majestic 
goose-lady into the kitchen, and, getting back to bed* 
slept in peace till the usual hideous farmhouse clamour 
began. We need not dilate upon it here. The war- 
whoopings of the cocks, the exhausting self-satisfaction 
of the hens over a feat which, however praiseworthy 
in itself, lacks originality ; the yells of the pigs, and 
their impatient snuffings and hangings against the 
kitchen door ; all, all, were alike detestable, and we 
welcomed almost with ecstasy the lowering of the first 
pair of Joyce legs, which told us that the family, like 
a certain distinguished cricketer, were going out " leg 
before." 

My cousin and I are old travellers, and we have 
two properties, a spirit lamp and a folding india- 
rubber bath, without which we never take the road. 
It is my belief that if my second cousin were told 
that a chariot of fire was at the door, waiting to waft 
her to the skies, she would rush upstairs for the india- 
rubber bath and the spirit lamp. After this I sup- 
pose I need hardly say that they had accompanied 



108 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

us to Connemara. We do not for an instant wish to 
insinuate that the bath, as an institution, does not ob- 
tain in those parts. We have every reason to believe 
that it flourishes there ; but a melancholy experience 
has taught us that the age of chivalry is dead, so far 
as hotels are concerned, and if there is a scarcity or 
competition in any department, whether of news- 
papers, or green peas, or baths, the most recent paper, 
and the first helping, and the last available bath is re- 
served by the truckling domestics for the largely- 
eating, heavily-tipping male traveller. We have had 
moments of fury, when violent death has stalked be- 
hind the chambermaid who has just informed us that 
" the last bat' in the house is afther goin' in to the 
gentleman in No. 11." 

But at such times the remembrance of the india- 
rubber bath floats sweetly into our minds ; and we 
reflect that its tin rival would have cost sixpence or a 
shilling. Its gentle influence, combined with a dash 
of chill penury, represses our noble rage, and we en- 
dure the favouritism of the hotel emlpoyes with calm ; 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 109 

knowing also that retribution is coming for her whose 
duty it will be to deal with the weird and wobbling 
thing that will, on the smallest provocation from the 
unskilled in its ways, become a mere mass of gaping 
mouths, pouring forth accusation of her and her treat- 
ment of the slightest visitor. 

At the Widow Joyce's hot water was unexpectedly 
abundant, and the spirit lamp was not called into 
requisition. We were given to understand that the 
Meejer was loud and instant in his demands for 
" plenty of biled water," but how he performed his 
ablutions with it it is not for us to say. Except they 
lent him a churn, there was, so far as we could see, 
no vessels competent to undertake the duties of a 
bath, and a churn in such a capacity would, we should 
think, leave a good deal to be desired. We were, 
however, independent of such makeshifts. The chief 
drawback to an indiarubber bath is its propensity to 
slop ; but on an earthen floor slop is little accounted, 
and all would have been well if my second cousin had 
not persisted in trying to empty it through the air- 



no THROUGH CONNEMARA 

hole broken by the Meejer in the window. She did 
this nominally out of kindness to the Widow Joyce, 
but really because she thought she could pour its 
contents on the widow's cat, who was sunning herself 
on the window-sill. As a matter of fact, I think our 
luncheon-basket suffered more than the cat — but we 
will not pursue the subject. My cousin now recog- 
nises that it requires an exceptionally high and hardy 
intellect to control an indiarubber bath, even in 
repose, and few, very few, are able to direct it in 
action. 

When we went out that morning, we found it was 
that " gift of God, a perfect day." Everything looked 
washed and brilliant after the rain ; the little lake was 
twinkling all over in sharp points of light till it looked 
as if it were bristling with new pins, and the moun- 
tains had left off their half-mourning costumes of 
black and grey, and wore charming confections of 
softest green and lavender. We stood out in the 
sunshine, on the narrow strip that ran between the 
cottage and the lake, and threw some languid stones 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. in 

at the widow's geese, who were bobbing along before 
the wind, led on their voyage by the stout disturber 
of our slumbers. The air was singing with the noise 
of streams ; each pale blue ravine had a white line 
dividing it ; at the back of the cottage a little overfed 
river came foaming into the lake at a pace that ought 
to have given it indigestion after all it had swallowed 
the night before, and the plash of the contents of the 
indiarubber bath, as the widow emptied it on the step 
of the front door, gave the last note in the chord of 
water-music. 

We had had an excellent breakfast, founded on fresh 
eggs and hot griddle cake, with a light top dressing of 
potted meat ; we had paid our modest reckoning, and 
Pat James, the eldest hope of the house of Joyce, was 
harnessing " the pony." That " the pony " was giving 
Pat James a time, not to say seven times and a half 
time, was obvious from the shouts that came to us 
through the stable-door, but finally, round the corner 
of the cow-house, Sibbie's cross, prim face appeared 
with Pat James leading her, and the governess- 



ii2 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

cart reeling over the big ruts in the lane behind 
her. 

" He's very crabbed, Miss," said Pat James, in tones 
of soft reproach, " he's afther hittin' me the divil's own 
puck inside in the stable." 

There was a spiteful gleam in Sybylla's bright eye 
that spoke to the truth of his statement, and we felt 
sorry for Pat James. 

We took a mutually affectionate farewell of the 
Widow Joyce, promising to convey her respects to 
the Mcejer if we met him in England, as she seemed 
to think probable, and we set forth to make our way 
back to " the big road below," accompanied by Pat 
James, whose mother had charged him to see us safe 
over the first bad bit of the road. 

He was an idyllically picturesque creature of seven- 
teen or eighteen, with large, gentle grey eyes, set in a 
golden-brown face several shades darker in value than 
they were, .and the most charming voice and manner 
imaginable. The cat, on whom my cousin had basely 
tried to empty the bath, came with him ; sometimes 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 113 

strolling behind with a set face of unconsciousness, 
but with a tail that twitched with inward plottings, 
and sometimes making possessed scuttles on ahead, 
with a sort of squirrel's tail held high, and a little 
dreadful air of being moved by some unseen power. 
Pat James was evidently rather ashamed of it, and at 
such moments would throw stones at it to cover his 
confusion. 

" We have it for a dog, Miss," he said in answer 
to our enquiries, " and it have the way now to be run- 
ning with us when we'd be going out." 

Here he threw another stone at the cat who had 
usurped the position of household dog, which had the 
effect of wafting it across the road under Sibbie's 
nose, and thereby alarming her seriously. He left us 
after about half a mile, and when we saw him last he 
was sitting on a big rock, his slouched felt hat and 
creamy flannel " bawneen " looking all that could be 
desired against their backgroundof clear blue sky , 
whilst the cat performed unearthly gambols in the 
heather at his bare feet. 



ii4 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" After all," we said to each other, as we turned 
into the main road, and set Sibbie's long nose for 
Recess, " it was just as well we missed our way, for if 
we hadn't we should have missed Pat James." 

The road that was to be our portion was the one 
known as the New Line, leading out of the Recess 
and Clifden road into another road that leads through 
the Pass of Kylemore, and on into Letterfrack, where 
we meant to spend the night. Sibbie was fresh and 
full of going, and the long level road, following the 
curves of Lough Inagh and Lough Derryclare, in- 
spired her with a fine and unusual zeal. The 
accustomed boats, each with its little patient whip- 
ping figure, were paddling about the lakes, and, 
according to our custom, we reined in the fiery Sibbie 
to watch them. They were a depressing spectacle, 
and, as usual, our cold, though anything but fishy, 
eye blighted all their chances of a rise. We left them 
all flogging away like Dublin cabdrivers, and made 
up our minds that if we wanted to spend thirty 
shillings a day on fish, we would do it at the Stores. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 115 

Our way lay through a long up-sloping tract of 
heathery, boggy valley, with the splendid towers and 
pinnacles of the Twelve Pins hanging high over the 
lakes on our left, and on our right the last outworks 
of the Maam Turc ranges rising almost from the road. 
It was an utterly lonely place. The small black-faced 
sheep pervaded the landscape, speckling the moun- 
tains like grains of rice, and we could see them filing 
along the ledges over purple depths where more than 
one climber has been killed. The little black and 
brindled cattle stared at us defiantly as we drove 
along, and the only human creature we met on the 
road was a grey old bagpiper, who looked as though 
he might have lost his way among the hills some time 
in the last century, and had only just found the New 
Line when we met him. 

It certainly was a perfect day and a perfect drive. 

The delicious mountain wind, which was charged with 

all the subtle perfumes drawn from bog and heather ; 

the marvellous cloud effects on the great crags of the 

Twelve Pins ; the sparkle and rush of the brown 

I 2 



n6 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

streams under the innumerable hog-backed bridges ; 
the intense blue of the lakes, even the yellow white- 
ness of the slow-climbing road, all combined to fill us 
with that vague delightful yearning which can only 
be satisfied by lunch half an hour earlier than usual. 

One only sign of civilisation did we see between 
Recess and Kylemore, and it was of a wholly unex- 
pected type. A middle-sized house, bow-windowed, 
gabled, stucco-covered, hideous beyond compare, 
standing in the middle of a grass plot at the foot of 
one of the hills, and looking as if some vulgar-minded 
fairy had transported it bodily from Brixton or 
Clapham Rise. It had at first the effect of being 
deserted, but, as we got nearer, a melancholy old 
horse strayed out of a sort of dilapidated shed and 
stared at us, and an outside car propped against an 
elaborately gabled end showed that he was not a 
mere derelict. As we drove by, a cat climbed out of 
one broken pane of glass, and a cock crept in by 
another, and then suddenly at three of the upstair 
windows there appeared the faces of three dirty little 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 117 

girls. The hall door was shut, and the thin wiry 
grass round the house was untrampled. No other 
living thing appeared, and we can only conclude that 
we stumbled in upon the middle of a fairy tale. The 
house, of course, was the work of enchantment, and 
the three princesses, who were held there in durance 
vile, were about to be rescued by the princely cock 
whom we had seen forcing an entrance, while the bad 
fairy — the cat, naturally — had to creep out and throw 
up the sponge (of which, by-the-bye, the princesses 
might with advantage have made practical use). 

We left the New Line just as we came in sight ot 
the Pass of Kylemore, and the road on which we now 
found ourselves wound along the shore of the lake, 
according to the custom in Connemara, where, unlike 
the rest of Ireland, the roads are not planted along 
the backs of the highest hills procurable. We pulled 
up on one of the bends of the road to look at the view 
and make a sketch. That is the supremest of the 
advantages of driving your own donkey-cart, you can 
generally stop when and wherever you like. The 



n8 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

only exception to this rule is when, as happened at 
Ballinahinch, your donkey has had too many oats. 

On this occasion the donkey was quite ready to 
stop, and she surveyed, with a connoisseur's cold eye, 
the unsurpassable view, while the evening clouds 
thronged the gap between the steep tree-covered sides 
of Kylemore on one side, and the stony severities of 
the Diamond Mountain on the other, and sent chang- 
ing lights and shadows hurrying over the wide lake, 
and drove the labouring sketcher of these things 
almost to madness. 

Mr. Mitchell Henry's place, Kylemore Castle, 
stands close in among the woods under the side of 
Kylemore Mountain, with a small lake shutting it off 
from the road. It is a great, imposing grey mass of 
turrets and towers, and, close by, the white spire of a 
charming little limestone church is reflected among 
the trees in the lake, and gives an amazing finish of 
civilisation to the whole view — in fact, civilisation and 
fuchsia hedges are the leading notes from Kylemore 
to Letterfrack, wide crimson banks of fuchsia lining 




MR. MITCHELL HENRY S PLACE, KYLEMORE CASTLE. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 121 

the road, and prosperous farm buildings presiding 
over fat turnip fields, until the road lifts again into 
the barer uplands whereon is situated the village of 
Letterfrack. 

No map we have as yet encountered pays Letter- 
frack the compliment of marking it, but it is never- 
theless a very fine place, with a post and telegraph 
office, an industrial school, and a tolerably regular 
double row of houses of all sorts. Our various delays 
of luncheon and sketching, &c, along the road had 
made us later than usual, and we were only just in 
time for the table d'hote at Mr. O'Grady's fuchsia- 
covered hotel. There was a wonderful sunset that 
evening, and after dinner we wandered out to see 
as much as we could before bedtime. It was the 
strangest country we had yet seen. A long down- 
sloping tract of semi-cultivated land, and, starting up 
round its outskirts, tall, crudely conical mountains, 
" such a landscape as a child would draw," my second 
cousin said. There was something volcanic and 
threatening about these great dark tents, showing 



122 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

awfully against the red background of the sunset. 
We were almost glad when everything melted into a 
grey sea-fog — for the sea, though out of sight, was 
very near — and we had to walk back the hotel ; while 
from a shadowy cottage back of the road the piercing 
screams of a concertina rendered in maddening iter- 
ation the first theme of the " Sweethearts " waltz. 
Only one incident did we meet with on our way back. 
Quite suddenly, out of the greyness, three men 
appeared, and as they passed us, one of them turned 
and said, " Genoong i dhieri," which, being translated, 
is " God speed you." 

We said feebly " Good evening," and it was not till 
we were nearing the hotel that my second cousin re- 
membered that she should have answered, " Ge moch 
hay ritth," which is the Irish method of saying, " The 
same to you." 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 123 



CHAPTER VII. 

nn HERE is reason in the roasting of eggs, and 
■*■ presumably in their poaching, but we are be- 
ginning to think we shall never fathom the 
principle which ordains that the hotel poached egg 
shall invariably be underdone. Charmed we never so 
wisely, commanded we never so timely, the same 
pinkish blobs were placed fluent and quaking before 
us, the same lavish gush answered the diffident knife 
puncture, and in a moment our plates became like 
sunrise painted by an impressionist, with red bacon 
streaks weltering in the widespread orange glories, 
and the golden mustard blob surmounting all as 
serenely as Phcebus Apollo. 

This phenomenon was at all events our only speci- 
men of a Letter frack sunrise. As we sat at breakfast 
in the coffee-room the mist blew softly against the 



i2 4 THROUGH CONNKMARA 

French windows, and swept past on the road like a 
procession of ghostly ball dresses ; the furniture 
seemed clammy to the touch, and the paper decora- 
tions in the grate mocked the eye with their futile 
elegance and affectation of summer heat Our fellow 
guests, evidently habitues of the place, took only the 
most casual notice of the weather, and talked of local 
matters with the zest which so surprises the new- 
comer ; of their single or conglomerated prowess in 
scrambling up the Diamond mountain, of their tumb- 
ling down it, of their tea, their sandwiches, and their 
wet boots ; while we moodily ate our breakfasts, 
without even self-respect enough to make conversa- 
tion for one another. Our depression was deepened 
soon afterwards, on hearing that an ancient raw on 
Sibbie's shoulder had been touched by the collar in 
the drive of the day before, and that unless a person 
described as " Jack's father " could put some additional 
padding into the collar we could not get on to Renvyle 
that day, though it was only a four mile journey. 
The prospect of a day spent in the coffee-room 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 



'25 



and the little ladies' drawing-room goaded us to 
energy. We determined to see the damage for our- 
selves, and putting on our waterproofs, we paddled 
out into the yard, and picked our way across it to the 
stable by some convenient and apparently recognised 




jack's father. 

stepping-stones. The invalid Sibbie was in the dar- 
kest stall of the stable, standing in severe pre- 
occupation, with her back to the outer world, and as 
we delicately approached her we became aware of an 
eye like that of a murderess rolling at us with a white 



126 THROUGH CONNE MARA 

gleam in the obscurity, and saw that her long, bell- 
rope tail was drawn tightly in. We hastily agreed 
that we would take Jack's word for the rubbed 
shoulder, and retired into the yard again. At the 
door of another stable we found the person whose 
only identity, or indeed profession, seemed to consist 
in being Jack's father, sitting on an upturned bucket, 
with Sibbie's collar in his lap and a monstrous needle 
in his hand. He explained that he was putting in a 
pad at each side, stuffed with cotton wool that he had 
got "from Herself, within in the house, because 
'twould be kindher than the hay." He had a serious 
face, with a frill of grey beard, like a Presbyterian 
minister of the most amiable type, aud he looked up 
as he spoke with an expression that we felt to be 
kinder even than the cotton wool. "If that collar 
puts a hurt on the pony agin as long as yee'll be 
thravellin' Connemara, ye may — ye may call me 
blackbird ! " 

This handsome permission, emphasised by the tug 
with which the big needle was dragged through the 



. IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 127 

leather, was evidently the highest reassurance known 
to the speaker, but, notwithstanding, we felt that even 
to apply the opprobrious name of blackbird to Jack's 
father would be an indifferent consolation if in the 
midst of a wilderness of moor and mountain we 
found the red spot appearing on Sibbie's shoulder. 
We looked, however, as properly impressed as we 
were able, and returned to the house in better spirits. 

It was not till the afternoon that the weather gave 
us a chance of starting, and even then it required 
courage of a high order to turn out of our comfortable 
quarters into the thick, damp air. The volcanic 
mountain spikes, that last night had notched the 
sullen fire of the evening sky, had with one accord 
taken the veil, and retired from public observation, 
and the sloping pastures and turnip fields looked as 
nearly repulsive as was possible for them. Under 
these circumstances we left Letterfrack without 
emotion, and proceeded northward towards Renvyle. 

After we had gone a little way we began to specu- 
late as to whether the road had been made with an 



128 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

eye to the possibility of a future switchback railway. 
It seemed to us that at every hundred yards or so we 
had to get out and trudge up a hill through the mud, 
our consciences approving our consideration for Sibbie, 
and our every other feeling bewailing it ; then came 
the scrambling into the trap again at the top, the 
tucking in of wet rugs, the difficult closing of the 
door, and having driven down the far side, the next 
hill rose immediately before us in the mist. The 
next thing we began to notice was that on every hill 
we met a donkey-cart and some young cattle, evi- 
dently coming from some fair or market. There 
were two courses of procedure on these occasions. 
The calves turned and fled before us at full gallop 
along the way they had come, until retrieved with 
huge expense of shouting and bad language, or they 
at once jumped the fence by the roadside and stam- 
peded at large through the fields. The donkey-cart, 
which generally contained a pig, and an old woman 
screaming in Irish, had but one method, which was to 
cross to the wrong side of the road at the critical 




AT TULLY FAIR. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 131 

moment, and then, abandoning itself to panic, en- 
deavour to retrace its steps. During three or four 
miles these recontres became more and more frequent, 
till at length, when the mist lifted at the top of a hill, 
we found that we had reached their source. In the 
hollow between the two hills was a village, its single 
street black with people, and the roads leading to it 
full of cattle and pigs. In other words, we had hit 
off the fair of Tully. 

My cousin and I began to wonder how we were to 
get to the other side of it. We drove down into the 
town with dignity and circumspection, hoping that 
our aristocratic appearance might clear the way for 
us ; but after a minute or two we were forced to the 
conclusion that the peasantry were not impressed. 
Not till Sibbie's aggrieved visage was thrust into their 
midst did the groups separate, and even then they 
could scarcely spare time from the ardours of debate 
to give us more than a passing stare of bewilderment. 
An obstacle that seemed for a time likely to prevent 

our ever getting to Renvyle was a donkey-cart, with 

K 2 



132 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

its shafts propped on a barrel so as to make a stall 
for the sale of sugar-stick, gooseberries, and piles of 
the massive biscuits known as " crackers." The press 
of customers and their friends round this brought us 
to a standstill, and my cousin, in a politely dignified 
voice, asked those nearest us to move aside. There 
was a movement and a turning to stare. 

" Holy Biddy ! What's thim ? " exclaimed a girl, 
pushing back against the donkey-cart, and in so 
doing sending some of the " crackers " sliding down 
into the mud. 

The proprietress, an old woman with protruding 
teeth and generally terrific aspect, made a futile 
attempt to avert the catastrophe, and then whirled 
round upon us with a ferocity whetted by this disaster 
and matured by long combat with small boys. 

" That the divil may blisther yerself and thim ! " 
she screamed. " What call have thim dirty thravellers 
here throwin' down all before thim ? Aha ! I knew 
ye," she said, addressing herself to my second cousin 
in tones of thunder, " and yer owld mother before ye, 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 133 

the time ye were thravelling the counthry in a pack 
on her back, puckin' at every hall-doore in the coun- 
thry beggin' spuds ! For so grand as ye are, with 
yer specs on yer nose and yer fine sailor hat on the 
back of yer head ! " 

My cousin and I should, of course, have passed on 
with a pale hauteur, as if we had not heard this 
amazing effort of biographical romance, but we are, 
unfortunately, not of the complexion that turns pale 
with ease ; on the contrary, we became a violent turkey- 
cock scarlet, and ended by a collapse into unsuppres- 
sible laughter, in which the crowd joined with unfeigned 
delight, as they at length made a way for us to pass. 

" Don't mind her at all, Miss," said a cattle drover, 
encouragingly, as he dragged a calf from before the 
wheel ; " that one'd bother a rookery with her tongue ; 
there isn't a fair in the counthry but she'll be bawling 
and fighting in it this way, so it's little regard the 
people pays to her and her chat. Sure, as Shakspeare 
says, " ye'll always know a rale lady wherever ye see 
her ! " 



134 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

This gallantry was so refreshing, that we did not 
stop to inquire more closely into the whereabouts of 
the quotation, and we slowly made our way out of 
the fair, past the bulging, grimy tents where porter 
and whisky were sold, and the screaming crowd of 
children in front of a showman's booth, till the last 
knot of blue-cloaked women was circumnavigated, 
and the last incensed pig was dragged from between 
Sibbie's forelegs. 

We looked back as we crawled up the hill outside 
the village, and wondered what the pleasure could be 
of standing all day long in the drizzle, in mud ankle- 
deep, as many do who have nothing either to buy or 
sell. But a fair is not to them merely a place of 
business, it is a conversazione, extending from sunrise 
to sunset, at which the keen spectacular enjoyment of 
bargaining is blended with the purely personal plea- 
sure of getting drunk. 

Another mile or two of switchbacking brought us 
in sight of trees, which, in Connemara, answers to 
coming in sight of land, as far as civilisation is con- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 135 

cerned ; before long we were driving underneath 
them, and pulling up at the entrance gate of a 
demesne. We drove down a long avenue (when we 
say " avenue " in Ireland, we mean it according to the 
true sense of the word, and do not necessarily imply 
that it is over-arched with trees), with the sound of 
the sea in our ears, and became aware that we were 
on a strip of land like the battlefield of Lyonesse. 

" On one side lay the ocean, and on one lay a great 
water." 

We wound by the edge of the lake, and might 
easily have mistaken the frothy ripple along its shore 
for the salt lip of the tide, but for the tall band of 
reeds that shook stiffly in the mist-laden wind. But 
we were nearing the sea every moment. We emerged 
from a plantation, and came in sight of it at last, and 
at the same time came to our destination, a long, 
grey, two-storey house, with low Elizabethan windows, 
and pale weather-slated walls, wholly unexpected, and 
altogether unique, as far, at all events, as this part of 
Ireland is concerned. 



136 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

Anyone who knows Galway at all, knows the name 
of Blake ; and anyone who read the reports of the 
Parnell Commission will remember the Mrs. Blake 
whose evidence there was thought by both sides to 
be of so remarkable a kind. Renvyle House, at 
whose oaken, iron-studded door Sibbie was now joy- 
fully coming to a standstill, has been the home of the 
Blakes for several centuries ; now, in its old age, it is 
the home of any tourist who chooses to go there. 
The bad times and the agitation hit Renvyle very 
hard ; so hard that when the fight with the Land 
League was over, Mrs. Blake was not able to sit down 
and tranquilly enjoy her victory. She had, on the 
contrary, to rise up and give all her energies to 
repairing the ruin that such a victory meant. Her 
plan was a daring one for a boycotted woman to un- 
dertake ; but it was carried out to its fullest intention. 
Before long, advertisements appeared in the news- 
papers and the guide books to the effect that Renvyle 
House had been added to the list of Connemara 
hotels, and the sound of traffic, " the coorsing and 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 137 

recoorsing "of cars began to be heard on the long 
avenue by the lake, as in the old times, when " ex- 
clusive dealing " and decrees of isolation were un- 
known. 

We cannot here say much about the difficulties she 
had to contend with. Whatever they were they were 
overcome. It is both easier and pleasanter to speak 
of the advantages at her command. The charming, 
rambling old house, with its innumerable panelled 
bedrooms, the lakes, "shtiff" with brown trout, the 
woods and rocks in which hide all manner of strange 
beasts — from otters and seals downwards — the un- 
tainted Atlantic for the tourist to disport himself in 
or upon, as seems good to him, and the tallest moun- 
tains of Connemara to stare at across the bay, while 
sprawling at ease on such a level, creamy stretch of 
sand as is seldom found except in those places where v 
it is the sole and much-bragged-of attraction. We 
had heard of all these things in advance ; we were 
accustomed to thinking of Renvyle as an hotel ; and 
yet, when we knocked at the door, and a grave and 



138 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

decorous man-servant appeared, the look of every- 
thing conspired to make us forget that we were 
tourists, prepared to exercise our lawful right of " bed 
and board," and we came very near stammering out 
an inquiry if Mrs. Blake was at home. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 



139 



CHAPTER VIII. 

HEN the iron-studded hall-door 
of Renvyle House Hotel had 
closed behind us, we 
found ourselves in a 
low-panelled hall, 
with oaken props 
for guns and fish- 
ing reds, and long 
black oaken chests along 
its walls. Everything was 
old-fashioned, even mediaeval 
dark, and comfortable. Nothing was in the least sug- 
gestive of a hotel, unless it might have been a row of 
letters and telegrams on the chimney-piece, and I 
was beginning seriously to fear that we had made a 
mistake, when I noticed my second cousin's eye- 




140 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

glasses were at full cock, and following their direction, 
I saw the"Innkeepers' Regulation "Act hanging framed 
on the wall. It was both a shock and a relief. 

Our various belongings — somewhat disreputable 
and travel-stained by this time — having been con- 
veyed from the trap, we were told that tea was ready 
in the drawing-room, and followed the servant through 
two deep doorways into another room, also mediaeval 
and panelled. " What is so rare as a day in June ? " 
asks Mr. Lowell. Nothing, we can confidently reply, 
except a fire in July, and there on the brick hearth 
we saw with gloating, incredulous eyes a heap of 
burning turf sending a warm, dry glow into the room, 
and making red reflections in the antique silver tea- 
service that was placed on a table near it. For ever 
quelled were our vague anticipations of the hotel 
drawing-room and its fetishes, the ornate mirrors, the 
glass-shaded clocks, and the alabaster chimney orna- 
ments ; and as we extended our muddy boots to the 
blaze, and sipped hot tea through a heavy coating 
of cream, we felt reconciled to the loss of an ideal. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 14 r 

After the clank of our tea-cups had continued for a 
few minutes, there was a stir under the frilled petti- 
coat of the sofa, and a small black-and-tan head was 
put forth with an expression of modest but anxious 




REXVYLE HOUSE HOTEL. 



inquiry, the raised flounces making a poke bonnet 
round the face, and giving it an old-ladyish absurdity, 
of which its owner was happily unaware. We laughed 
— an unkindness which was followed by an expres- 
sion of deep but amiable embarrassment, and a 



142 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

tapping on the floor that told of deprecatory tail 
waggings. We simultaneously extended a piece of 
bread-and-butter, and an animal, allied apparently to 
the houses of black-and-tan terrier and dachshund, 
at once came forward with its best manner and took 
our offerings with suave good breeding and friend- 
liness. A trick of sitting up and waving the fore- 
paws as a request for food was exhibited to us with- 
out delay, and further researches discovered a pro- 
ficiency in that accomplishment of " trust " and " paid 
for," which must be the bitterest problem in dog- 
education, and perhaps gives in later dog-life some 
free-thinking ideas about the unpractical nature of 
the exercise, and the flippancy of supreme beings 
generally. We said all this to each other, luxuriously 
and at great length, and had some pleasure in con- 
trasting the refined behaviour of the Renvyle dog 
with the brutal cynicism of the Recess penwiper and 
the blase efTeteness of its fox-terrier. Under the 
influences of dark mahogany panelling and a low 
Queen Anne window we became mellow and thought- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 143 

ful, and sank into soothing reflection on our natural 
affinity to what is cultured and artistic. I am sure, 
at least, that my second cousin felt like that ; she 
always has since the disastrous day on which a chiro- 
mantist looked at her hand and told her that it was 
essential to her to have nice surroundings. 

I was beginning to feel a little acrid at this recollec- 
tion when the door-handle turned in its place high 
up in the panels, and Mrs. Blake came in to see her 
visitors. That my cousin belonged to her county 
seemed to her a full and sufficient reason that she 
should welcome us as friends, and perhaps it gave us 
throughout our stay an advantage over the ordinary 
tourist in the more intimate kindnesses and oppor- 
tunities for conversation that fell to our lot. 

We looked as hard at Mrs. Blake as politeness 
would permit, while the broad columns of the Times 
seemed to rise before our mind's eye, with the story 
sprinkled down it through examination and cross- 
examination of what she had gone through in the 
first years of the agitation. It required an effort to 



i44 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

imagine her, with her refined, intellectual face and 
delicate physique, taking a stick in her hand and 
going out day after day to drive off her land the 
trespassing cattle, sheep, and horses that were as 
regularly driven on to it again as soon as her back 
was turned. We did not say these things to Mrs. 
Blake, but we thought about them a good deal while 
we sat and talked to her, and noticed the worn look 
of her face and the anxious furrows above her bene- 
volent brows. 

It was some time before we went up to see the two 
rooms of which we had been offered a choice. Both 
were low and panelled, both had low, long windows ; 
in fact it will save trouble if we say at once that 
everything at Renvyle was long and low and panelled. 
The first room looked to the front of the house, and 
out over the Atlantic towards the muffled ghosts of 
Innis Boffin and Achill Islands; a fine view on a 
fine day, and impressive even at its worst ; but to us, 
the room's chiefest attraction was the four-poster 
bed, a magnificent kind of upper chamber, like a 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. r 45 

sumptuous private box, with gilded pillars, and carved 
work, and stretched canopy ; something to admire 
with the help of a catalogue at South Kensington. 
We felt, as we were taken down two long passages 
to view the other room, that it was a mere matter of 
form, and that the golden bed was too regal a circum- 
stance to be abandoned. But before my cousin's 
eye-glasses were fairly adjusted for the inspection, we 
had begun to waver. The other bed was brass in- 
stead of gold, there was no denying that ; but these 
windows looked out to a great ridge of mountains, 
crowded about the head of the bay, roses climbed to 
the sill, and the grassy stretch below was cut out in 
gaudy flower-beds. A peacock screamed just under 
the windows, and we saw him with his meek spouse 
trailing his tail about the grass among the flower- 
beds that were wired in from his ravaging beak. I 
think it was the broad window seat in conjunction 
with the mountains that turned the scale — (the pea- 
cock also turned the scale, but in a different way, 

generally turning it at C in alt ; but, as Mr. Rudyard 

L 



146 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

Kipling says, that is another story). We forewent 
the golden glories of the new Jerusalem bed, and re- 
mained where we were. 

There was unconfessed peace in the certainty that 
it was not an afternoon for sight-seeing ; rather for 
fervent shin-roasting at the drawing-room fire, blended 
with leisurely, unsystematic assimilation of the Times 
for the last four days. Fishermen, apparently, take a 
holiday from newspapers, along with their other 
duties when they go a-flshing, and expose themselves 
to nothing more severe in the way of literature than 
the Field or Land and Water ; at all events, these 
and a pre-historic Illustrated London News had been 
our only opportunities for keeping ourselves in touch 
with the outer world since we had left it. Boa- 
constrictor-like, we slowly gorged ourselves with solid 
facts, and then subsided into a ruminative torpor, 
misanthropically delighted at the fact that we had 
chanced upon an intermediate period as to tourists, 
and that the owners of the letters and telegrams 
that we had seen in the hall had not arrived to claim 




1 IT WAS THE BROAD WINDOW SEAT, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE 
MOUNTAINS, THAT TURNED THE SCALE." 



L 2 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 149 

them and their lawful share of the fire and the news- 
papers. 

Our most salient recollections of the rest of the 
evening are connected with the velvet delicacy of the 
lobster soup at dinner, and the tortured bashfulness 
of the English youth, who crept, mouse-like, into the 
room after the rest of the 
small party were seated, 
and raised neither his eyes 
nor his voice till the meal 
was ended. Directly he 
had finished, he hurried 
from the room and was t 
seen no more. A lady 
who sat next us volun- 

, - . c . "SHE WAS AN AMERICAN LADY/' 

teered the information 

that he always acted just so, and that he spent his 
days, so far as anyone could guess, in slinking around 
the mountains. " He's so shy," she concluded, " that 
he'll scrape a hole in his plate trying to get the last 
mite of butter off it rather than ask me to pass 




150 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

the cooler." It appeared that she was an American 
lady who had come to Renvyle to inquire into the 
advantages of the Land League and other kindred 
institutions, which was perhaps why she was in 
the habit of noticing little things. She certainly 
seemed to have noticed the Englishman a good deal. 

Given a sloping, sunshiny bank of shingle, a mass 
of yellow lichen-covered rocks between it and a 
purple-and-emerald streaked sea, a large empty morn- 
ing, and a cock-shot, there is no reason why one 
should ever stop throwing stones. That is how my 
second cousin and I occupied ourselves the morning 
after our arrival at Renvyle. We had started early, 
with sketching materials and luncheon, full of a high 
resolve to explore several miles of coastline, beginning 
with the famous Grace OMalley's Castle, and ending 
with afternoon tea and well-earned repose. 

No one can accuse these papers of a superfluity of 
local information. We have exercised a noble reti- 
cence in this respect, owing partly to a sympathetic 
dislike of being instructive, and partly also to the cir- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 151 

cumstance that we never seemed able to collect any 
facts. We have questioned waiters, and found that 
they came from Dublin, and bothered oldest inhabi- 
tants only to find that they were either deaf or " had 
no English." But Grace O'Malley is a lady of too 
pronounced a type to be ignored, and even our very 
superficial acquaintance with her history compels us 
at least to express our regret that such a female 
suffragist as she would have made has been lost to 
our century. If she had lived now she would have 
stormed her way into the London County Council, 
and sat upon that body in every sense of the word ; 
and had the University of Oxford refused to allow 
her to graduate as whatever she wished, she would 
indubitably have sacked the town, and borne into 
captivity all the flower of the Dons. In the reign of 
Elizabeth, however, her energies were confined to the 
more remunerative pursuit of piracy. She is known 
to have had a husband, but he does not seem to 
have occupied public attention to any extent, except 
secondarily, as when it is recorded that " the Lady 



152 THROUGH CONNEMAR.l 

Grace O'Malley went to England to make a treaty 
with the Queen, and took her husband with her." 
One of her strongholds was this square tower, that 
looks down with such amiable picturesqueness on the 
waters of Renvyle Bay, and we were told that on 
those rare occasions when she condescended to sleep 
ashore instead of afloat, a hawser leading from her 
ship was fastened to her bedpost, and the skipper 
had orders to haul on it if anything piratically promi- 
sing should turn up. 

I think we had begun to discuss this energetic 
Grace and her probable action in modern politics as 
we strolled across the fields between Renvyle and the 
sea. At all events, something beguiled us to sit down 
upon that slope of small round stones, when we were 
as yet but a quarter of a mile from the hotel, and then 
a flaunting tuft of white bladder campion on a point 
of yellow rock offered itself irresistibly as an object for 
stone-throwing. As we write this we are sensible of 
its disappointing vulgarity. The word " sketch," if not, 
indeed, " sonnet," should have closed the sentence ; 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 153 

but the humiliating fact remains that we simply lay 
there and pelted it till we had used up all the avail- 
able pebbles, and stiffened our shoulders for the next 
three days, and still the bladder campion flaunted in 
our despite. We crawled from that too fascinating 
shingle beach to the grass above it, and stretched our- 
selves there in heated fractiousness. How hot the sun 
was ! How blue and green the sea ! And how enchant- 
ingly the purple gloom of the mountains showed be- 
tween the grey hairy legs of the thistles ! And after 
an interval of healing torpor, how admirable was 
luncheon ! 

But after luncheon Grace O'Malley's tower seemed 
farther off than ever, and relinquishing the vigorous 
projects of our morning start, we began to drift along 
the shore towards the pale stretches of the sands. We 
dawdled luxuriously across a low headland, where the 
mouths of the rabbit-burrows made yellow sandy 
patches in the coarse grass, and we slid down the 
crumbling slope on to the hard, perfect surface of the 
sand. Its creamy smoothness had something of the 



154 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

romance of new-fallen snow, and none of its horrors. 
An insane and infantine ardour possessed us — to run, 
to build castles, to paddle ! We came very near 
paddling, forgetful of our age, our petticoats, and the 
fact that no one ever yet was able to paddle as deep 
as they wanted to. In fact, we resolved that we 
would paddle, and we set off down the slanting 
glistening plane towards the far-off line of foam. 
Here and there the blue sky lay reflected in the wet 
patches of sand, Achill Island was a cloudy possibility 
of the horizon, Croagh Patrick and Mweelrea, im- 
mense certaintfes of the north-eastern middle distance, 
and at our feet were laid lovely realities of long lace- 
like scarves of red seaweed, flattened out with such 
prim precision that we expected to find their Latin 
and English names written beneath them on the 
sand. 

Another fifty yards would have brought us to the 
water's verge, when suddenly crossing our path at 
right angles, we came upon a long line of footmarks, 
masculine in size, pointed in shape, fraught with 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 155 

sinister suggestion of spying eyes. A group of im- 
mense rocks, the leaders of a procession of boulders 
trailing glacier-wise from the mountains to the sea, 
easily suggested an ambush, and the footmarks, as far 
as we could see, led in their direction. The same 
thought of the hidden watcher struck us both, and in- 
stantly and for ever abandoning the paddling scheme, 
we resolved to follow up the track of the footprints 
until we had routed the unworthy foot-printer from 
his lair. Little prods, as of a stick in the sand, ac- 
companied the boot-marks, and at one spot certain 
rudimentary efforts in both art and literature made me 
think that the wearer of the boots was guiltless of 
object in his retreat upon the rocks. Suddenly, how- 
ever, the marks lost their almost complacent evenness, 
and became extended and irregular, as if their owner 
had given himself over to ungoverned flight. 

" What did I tell you ? " remarked my cousin ; " he 
was rushing off to hide before we should see him ! " 

We reached the rocks, and, with eyes that must 
have imparted to her pince-nez the destructive quality 



156 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

of burning glasses, my cousin swept their weedy 
crevices to discover some indication of the spy. 

" He must be at the other side," she began, when 
our eyes simultaneously fell upon a small white ob- 
ject. 

It was a sandwich. 

It lay between two big rocks that leaned to each 
other, leaving just room for a slim person to squeeze 
through ; and looking through the aperture, we saw 
a long narrow vista of the sands, and on them a soli- 
tary flying speck — the Englishman. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 



i57 



CHAPTER IX. 

r pHE sound of the mowing-machine awakened us 
early on the morning that we were to leave 
Renvyle House Hotel. To and fro the rattle 
came, with a measured crescendo and diminuendo 
that slowly aroused our sleepy minds to the conscious- 
ness that the tennis ground was being mown, and that 
it was Monday, and that — this finally, after sluggish 
eyes had become aware of pink roses swaying in sun- 
shine in and out of the open window — another fine 
day had been bestowed upon us whereon to make our 
journey. The clatter of the mowing-machine grew 
louder, and the smell of the cut grass came in at the 
window, blending sweetly with the strong language 
of the gardener to his underling, as the machine was 
seered in its difficult course among the flower beds. 



158 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

When we leaned out across the broad window sill, the 
business was almost finished, and the panniers of a 
donkey, who was standing on the gravel walk with his 
head drooped between his forelegs, in a half-doze 




-*^ 



THE RENVYLE DONKEY. 



were spilling over with the short green grass, and the 
chopped-off heads of the daisies. We stared at the 
donkey in a kind of bewilderment. The top of his 
head was tufted like a Houdan hen's, but stare as we 
might we could not see his ears, and it was so aston- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 159 

ishing a phenomenon that we went downstairs to 
investigate it. 

It was a genuine summer morning at last ; the sun 
shone hotly down on our bare heads as we passed the 
smooth lawn-tennis ground, with the long alternate 
grey and green lines ruled on it by the machine, and 
we stood for a moment or two in the shade of the 
thick fuchsia arch that led to the old-fashioned 
garden plot, and listened to the bees fussing in and out 
of the masses of blood-red blossom over our heads. 
The donkey was still dozing under his panniers as we 
came up to him, and we saw beyond any manner of 
doubting that the only ears he possessed were little 
circles no higher than napkin-rings, out of which 
sprouted thick tufts of wool and coarse brown hair. 
Just then the men neared us with the machine, and 
we asked them for an explanation. 

" His ears was cut off in the time of th' agitation," 
the gardener replied, in a voice that showed that the 
fact had long ago ceased to have any interest for him, 
as he emptied the last boxful of grass into the panniers. 



160 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

" He was a rale good little ass thim times, faith he 
was." 

Probably our faces conveyed our feelings, for the 
gardener went on : " Indeed, it was a quare thing to 
do to him ; but, whatever, they got him one morning 
in the field with the two ears cut off him as even with 
his head as if ye thrimmed them with that mow- 
sheen." 

We passed our hands over the mutilated stumps 
with a horror that evidently gratified the gardener. 
" There was one of the ears left hanging down when 
we got him," he proceeded. " I suppose they thought 
it was the most way they could vex us. They grewn 
what ye see since then, and no more, and the flies has 
him mad sometimes." 

We went into breakfast with what appetite we 
might, and felt what terrible facts had conduced to the 
circumstance that we, tourists and strangers, were able 
to take our places in the old Renvyle dining-room, 
and partake of hot breakfast-cakes and coffee — coffee 
whose excellence alone was enough to make us forget 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 161 

we were in an hotel — as if we, and not the Blakes, 
had been its proprietors for centuries. 

We spent the morning in making a final tour of the 
house, up and down the long passages, and in and out 
of the innumerable charming panelled rooms. We 
have left the library to the last, and now that we are 
face to face with the serious business of description, 
our consciences tell us that we are not competent to 
pronounce on ancient editions and choice bindings. 
It seemed to us that every book in the tall mahogany 
cases that stood like screens about the room was old 
and respectable enough to have been our great grand- 
father ; we certainly had in our hands a contemporary 
edition of Sir Walter Raleigh's " History of the 
World," not to mention an awful sixteenth century 
treatise on tortures, with illustrations that are still 
good, handy, reliable nightmares when the ordinary 
stock runs short. My second cousin has, I fancy, 
privately set up a reputation as a book-fancier, among 
people who do not know her well, on the strength of 

her graphic descriptions of one massive tome, a 

M 



i6 2 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

treatise on Spain, written in Latin, with gorgeous 
golden hieroglyphics stamped on its white vellum 
cover, and a date far back in 1 500 on its yellow title- 
page. 

I am sure that Sibbie felt small gratitude to the 
sulphate of zinc that brought about the complete 
healing of her sore shoulder, which took place during 
her visit at Renvyle. Probably never before since 
her entrance into society had she spent three whole 
days in a stable on terms of delightful equality with 
real horses, and with at least two feeds a day of real 
oats. " Beggars can't bear heat," is a tried and trusted 
saying in Ireland, and it soon became apparent that 
the moral and physical temperature in which Sibbie 
had been living had been too high for her. When 
we went to the hall-door to superintend the stowage 
of our effects in the governess-cart, we found her on her 
hind legs, with a stable-boy dangling from her bit, 
and flat on his back in front of her lay the respect- 
able butler, overwhelmed in the rugs which he had 
brought out on his arm. We hastened to the rescue ; 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 163 

the butler got up, Sibbie got down, and we proffered 
apologies for her misconduct. 

" Oh, thin that one's the divil painted ! " said the 
stable-boy, speaking, probably, on the principle of 
" Penny plain, tuppence coloured." " He went to ate 
the face off me to-day, an' I claning out his stall ! 
Faith, 'twas hardly I had time to climb out over the 
side of the stall before he'd have me disthroyed." 

The miscreant's appearance was that of a swollen 
sausage propped on hairpins, and, as having regret- 
fully bade farewell to the hospitable house of Ren- 
vyle, we set off down the avenue at a showy canter, 
we promised ourselves that we would not strain the 
tender quality of mercy by any philanthropic non- 
sense of walking up hills. 

Our route lay along our old acquaintance the 
switchback road for two or three miles, and then we 
said farewell to it, and turned to our left to follow the 
easterly line of the coast. It was not a bad little road 
in its way, but it was sufficient to chasten the exuber- 
ance of Sibbie's gaiety before we had travelled very 

M 2 



164 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

far along it ; in fact, as a midshipman observed of 
Madeira, " The scenery was lovely, but very steep." 
The coast thrust long rocky fingers into the sea, and 
we drove across the highly-developed knuckles ; that 
is, if notpicturesque, the most practical description 
that we can give of this stage of our journey. To try 
to convey the blueness of the sea, the variety and 
colour of the innumerable bays and creeks, the solemn 
hugeness of Lettergash mountain that towered on our 
right, is futility, and a weariness of the flesh. Rather 
let us speak of such things as we are able, of the dogs 
whose onslaught from each successive cabin made it 
advisable to keep a pile of stones in the trap, and 
justified the time spent in practice at the bladder 
campion ; of the London Pride and the great bell- 
heather that ably decorated the rocks ; and, lastly, 
the amenities of these are past. This tract of coun- 
try had a baneful practice of tempting us to pass by 
a deferential retreat into the ditch, and of then in- 
stantly starting in emulous pursuit. On one of these 
occasions, after a stern-chase of half a mile, in despair 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 165 

of otherwise putting an end to it, my cousin and I 
pulled up at a moderate hill, and got out and walked, 
hoping that the cart that had been clattering hard on 
our heels would now pass us by. Far otherwise ; it 
also pulled up, and one of its many occupants caMed 
out in tones of genial politeness : " Ah ! don't be 
sparin' him that way, ladies. He's well able to pull 
the pair of ye ; nourish him wid the whip ! " 

Our destination was Leenane (pronounced Lee- 
nahn), but we had been advised to turn off the main 
road in order to see the Pass of Salruck. Slowly 
rounding the flank of Lettergash, we turned our backs 
to the sea and struck inland again into the now fami- 
liar country of lake and heather. We had been told 
that a fishing-lodge by a lake would be a sign unto 
us that we had arrived at the by-road to Salruck. 
Here was the lake, and here the fishing-lodge ; but 
could this be the by-road ? If so, it certainly was 
not promising ; in fact, before we committed our- 
selves to its stony ferocities, my cousin alighted in 
order to collect information from the peasantry, a task 



1 66 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

in which she believed herself to excel. In this in- 
stance the peasantry consisted of an elderly man, 
breaking stones by the side of the road, and the per- 
spiring stare with which he received my cousin's 
question was not encouraging. She repeated it. He 
stared up at the sun, wrinkled his face till it looked 
like a brown paper parcel too tightly tied with string, 
and replied, " I'd say it'd be somewhere about a 
quarther behind three — or thereabouts." 

" No," said my cousin in her shrillest tones, " I 
asked you whether that is the road to Salruck ? " 

" Oh, it will — the day'll be fine, thank God," wiping 
his forehead with his sleeve, " but we'll have rain on 
it soon — to-morrow, or afther to-morrow. Ye couldn't 
put yer thumb bechuxt the shtarr and the moon lash' 
night, an' they'd reckon that a bad sign." 

"Stone deaf," remarked my cousin to me in a 
" Just-Heaven-grant-me-patience" sort of voice ; then, 
pointing towards the hill, " Is — Salruck — over — 
there?" she slowly screamed. 

The echoes squealed the inquiry from rock to rock. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 167 

Even Sibbie looked round with a cold surprise ; but 
the stonebreaker had not heard. 

" Oh, is it throut ? " in a tone of complete compre- 
hension ; " Divil sich throuts in all Connemara as 
what's in that lake ! Ye'd shtand in shnow to be 
looking at Capt'in Thompson whippin' them out of 
it!" 

" Thank you," said my second cousin very politely ; 
" Good morning ! " 

We thought it better to chance the by-road than to 
try conversation. It was the first really bad road we 
had come upon in Connemara ; but, though there was 
only a mile of it, it was enough to throw discredit on 
the whole district. Half a mile of walking and of 
pushing the trap from behind brought us to the top 
of the hill, and when there an equally steep descent 
was in front of us before we could get down to the 
level of the little arrow-head shaped bay that thrust 
its long glittering spike between the mountains of 
Salruck. To hang on to the back of a trap as a kind 
of improvised drag is both exhausting and undigni- 



1 68 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

fied, so much so that we did not drive quite down to 
the bottom of the valley, but paused on a perch of 
level ground outside the gates of a shooting-lodge, 
and asked a woman what the further road was like. 

" Indeed, thin, God knows, it's a conthrairy road," 
she said, with a sympathetic glance at our heated 
faces, " but whether or no ye can go in it." 

We thanked her, but made up our minds to throw 
ourselves on the kindness of the shooting-lodge, at 
whose gates we were standing ; and the trap and 
Sibbie having been hospitably given house room 
there, we were free to explore Salruck. We went 
down through a tunnel composed of about equal parts 
of trees and midges, and, following the conthrairy road 
over a bridge that crossed a little river, we sat our- 
selves down by the sea-shore and looked about us. 

It may be said at once that Salruck is a place 
which would almost infallibly be described as " spot." 
A spot should be wooded, sheltered, sunk between 
mountains if possible, and, failing a river, a brook of 
respectable size should purl or babble into a piece of 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 171 

water large enough to mirror the trees. A church is 
not an absolute necessity, but is generally included in 
the suite, and even down to this refinement Salruck was 
thoroughly equipped. Having formulated this theory 
to our satisfaction, we addressed ourselves to our 
duties as tourists. We climbed the heathery Pass of 
Salruck, a stiff windy climb ; we viewed from the top 
of it the lovely harbour of the Killaries, and moun- 
tains and islands innumerable and unpronounceable ; 
we came down again by a short cut suggested by my 
cousin, of a nature that necessitated our advancing in 
a sitting posture and with inconvenient rapidity down 
a species of glacier. The pass happily accomplished, 
we knew there was but one thing more to be done — 
the graveyard. Our benefactors at the shooting-lodge 
had told us how to find our way to it, and without 
such help we certainly should not have discovered it. 
It was hidden in the side of a wooded hill, a grassy 
cart-track was its sole approach, a pile of branches in 
a broken wall was its gate, and, instead of funereal 
cypresses, tall ash trees and sycamores stood thickly 



172 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

among the loose heaps of stones that marked the 
graves. At a first glance we might even have thought 
we had taken a wrong turn and strayed into a stony 
wood, but the kneeling figure of a woman told us that 
we had made no mistake. She got up as we came 
along the winding, trodden path among the trees, and 
we recognised her as the woman whom we had met on 
the hill an hour before. 

" This is a quare place, ladies," she said in a loud, 
cheerful voice. " There's manny a one comes here 
from all sides of the world to see it." 

We agreed that it was a queer place, and proceeded 
without delay into a long conversation. We found 
out that the high square mound of stones, about the 
height and length of a billiard-table, was an altar, in 
which only priests were buried ; and she pointed out 
to us under one of its stones some clay pipes and 
even a small heap of tobacco, which she told us had 
been left there by the last funeral for the use of "any- 
one that comes to say a prayer, like meself." In fact, 
all the graves were littered with broken pipes and 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 173 

empty boxes for holding the tobacco — grocery boxes 
most of them labelled with glowing announcements 
of Colman's Mustard and Reckitt's Blue, lying abou 
in all directions, and almost dreadful in their sordid 
garish poverty. 

" There isn't one that dies from all round the coun- 
thry but they'll bury him here," said our friend, " and 
with all that's buried in it there's not a worrum, nor 
the likes of a worrum in it." 

A little below where we were standing a circle of 
stones, like a rudimentary wall, stood round some 
specially sacred spot, and we stumbled over the 
ghastly inequalities of the ground towards it. Inside 
the stones the ground was bare and hard, like an 
earthern floor, and in the centre there was a small, 
round hole, with the gleam of water in it. 

" That's the Holy Well of Salruck," said the woman, 
leaning comfortably against a great ash tree, one of 
whose largest limbs had been half torn from its trunk 
by lightning, and hung, white and stricken, above the 
little enclosure. " There'll be upwards of thirty sit- 



174 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

ting round it some nights prayin' till morning. It's 
reckoned a great cure for sore eyes." This with a 
compassionate glance towards my second cousin's 
pince-nez. " But what signifies this well towards the 
well that's out on the island beyond ! " went on the 
country woman, hitching her shoulders into her cloak, 
and preparing to lead the way out of the graveyard ; 
" sure the way it is with that well, if anny woman 
takes so much as a dhrop out of it the wather'll soak 
away out of it, ever, ever, till it's dhry as yer hand ! 
Yes faith, that's as thrue as that God made little 
apples. Shure there was one time the priest's sisther 
wouldn't put as much delay on herself as while she'd 
be goin' over to the other spring that's in the island, 
and she dhrew as much wather from the holy well 
as'd wet her tay. I declare to ye, she wasn't back in 
the house before the well was dhry ! " 

She paused dramatically, and we supplied the neces- 
sary notes of admiration. 

"Well, when the priest seen that," she went on, "he 
comminced to pray, and bit nor sup never crossed 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 177 

his mouth for a night and a day but prayin' ; there 
wasn't a saint in Heaven, big nor little, he didn't 
dhraw down on the head o' the same well. Afther 
that thin ag'in, he got his books, and he wint back in 
the room, and he was readin' within there till he was 
in a paspiration. Oh, faith ! it's not known what he 
suffered first and last ; but before night the wather 
was runnin' into the well the same as if ye'd be fillin' 
it out of a kettle, and it's in it ever and always since 
that time. The priest put a great pinance on the 
sisther, I'm told, but, in spite of all, he was bet by the 
fairies afther that till he was near killed, they were 
that jealous for the way he put the wather back. The 
curse o' the crows on thim midges ! " she continued, 
with sudden fury, striking at the halo of gnats that 
surrounded her head as well as ours, "thedivil sich an 
atin' ever I got." 

We had been slaughtering them with unavailing 
frenzy for some time, and at the end of her story we 
fled from the graveyard, and made for the high- 
road. 

N 



178 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

The hospitalities of the shooting-lodge did not end 
with Sibbie. Its hostess was waiting to meet the two 
strangers as they toiled, dishevelled and midge-bitten, 
to its gate, and with a most confiding kindness, 
brought them in and gave them the afternoon tea for 
which their souls yearned. 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 179 



CHAPTER X. 

TT IE. have never met Julius Caesar, or the Duke of 

* * Wellington, or General Booth, but we are 

convinced that not one of the three could boast 

a manner as martial or a soul as dauntless as the 

sporting curate on a holiday. We came to this 

conclusion slowly at the Leenane table cFhdte, 

and there also the companion idea occurred to us 

that in biting ferocity and headlong violence of 

behaviour the extra ginger-ale of temperance far 

exceeds the brandy-and-soda. Opposite to us sat 

three of them — not brandies-and-sodas — curates ; 

and our glasses were filled with two of them — 

not curates — bottles of ginger-ale ; and so the 

manners and customs of both classes were, as it 

N Z 



180 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

were, forced upon us conjointly. If our reflections 
appear unreliable we are not prepared to defend 
them ; they were formed through the blinding mist of 
tears that followed each fiery sip of the ginger-ale. 

The curates, as we have said, were three in number ; 
and comprised three of the leading types of their class 
— the dark and heavily moustached, the red-whiskered 
and pasty, the clean-shaven and athletic. The two 
former sat together and roystered on a pint of claret, 
which they warmed in the palms of their hands, and 
smacked their lips over with a reckless jollity and 
dark allusions to swashbuckling days at Cambridge. 
The third sat apart from his cloth, among a group of 
Oxford undergraduates, with whom he interchanged 
reminiscences, and from the elevation of his three 
terms seniority regaled them with tales of hair-breadth 
escapes from proctors and bulldogs, and, in especial, 
of the enormities of one Greene, of Pembroke, in con- 
nection with a breakfast given by a man who had 
been sent " a big cake from home." The story was 
long, and profusely decked with terms of the most 






IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 181 

esoteric undergraduate slang, but we gathered that 
Greene, having become what the curate leniently 
termed "a little on," had cast the still uncut cake out 
of the window at a policeman, upon the spike of 
whose helmet it became impaled. We have since 
heard with real regret that the Oxford police do 
not wear spikes on their helmets ; but we adhere to 
the main facts of the story, and when we tell it our- 
selves we call the policeman a volunteer. The robust 
voice of the narrator clove its way into the loud cur- 
rent of the fishing talk, the table paused over its 
gooseberry pie and custard to laugh, and even the 
Cambridge curates were compelled to a compassionate 
smile. They were a good deal older than any of the 
Oxford clan, and it seemed to us that the superior 
modernity and fla\our of the Oxford stories had a 
depressing effect upon them. They finished their 
claret unostentatiously, and talked to each other in 
lowered tones about pocket cameras and safety 
bicycles. 

It was strange to feel at this hotel — as, indeed, at all 



1 82 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

the others we stayed at — that we were almost the only 
representative of our country, and, casting our minds 
back through the maze of English faces and the 
Babel of English voices that had been the accom- 
paniment of our meals for the last fortnight, two pain- 
ful conclusions were forced on us — first, that the Irish 
people have no money to tour with ; second, that it was 
Saxon influence and support alone that evoluted the 
Connemara hotels from a primitive feather-bed and 
chicken status alluded to in an earlier ar f icle. Not, 
indeed, that chickens are things of the past. Daily 
through Connemara rises the cry of myriad hens, 
bereft of their infant broods, and in every hotel larder 
" wretches hang that fishermen may dine." Chickens 
and small brown mutton, mutton and small brown 
chickens — these, with salmon and trout of a curdy 
freshness that London wats not of, were the leit-motif 
of every hotel table (TJiSte, and so uniformly excellent 
were they that we asked for nothing more. 

The whole of the next day was wet, utterly and 
solidly wet. The great mountains of Mayo on the 



IN A GOVERNES'S-CART. 183 

other side of the bay looked like elephants swathed 
in white muslin, and the sea that came lashing up the 
embankment in front of the hotel was thick and 
muddy, and altogether ugly to look at. We sat dis- 
mally in the ladies' drawing-room, with one resentful 
eye on the rain, and the other fixed in still deeper 
resentment on the wholly intolerable man who had 
taken up his position in front of the fire with a book 
the night before, and had, apparently, never stirred 
since. From the smoking-room on the other side of 
the hall came drearily at intervals the twanglings of a 
banjo ; my second cousin read a hotel copy of " The 
Pilgrim's Progress " ; the general misery was complete, 
and I found myself almost mechanically working a 
heavy shower into a sketch that had been made on a 
fine day. 

Towards evening we began to feel homicidal and 
dangerous, and putting on our mackintoshes started 
for a walk with a determination that found a savage 
delight in getting its feet wet. No incident marked 
that walk, unless the varying depths of puddles and 



i8 4 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

the strenuous clinging to an umbrella are incidents, 
but for all that we returned tranquillised and self- 
satisfied, and were further soothed by a cloudy vision 
caught, through the French window of the smoking- 
room, of blazers and white flannelled legs bestowed 
about the room in various attitudes of supine discon- 
tent. Before we sighted the window we had heard the 
melancholy metallic hiccupping of the banjo, but just 
as we passed by it ceased, and a furtive glance revealed 
the athletic curate, prone on a sofa, with his banjo 
propped upon the brilliant striped scarf that inter- 
vened between the clerical black serge coat and the 
uncanonical flannels. 

"Now the hand trails upon the viol string 
That sobs, and the brown faces cease to sing, 
Sad with the whole of pleasure. Whither stray 
Their eyes now, from whose lips the slim pipes creep 
And leave them pouting " 

misquoted my cousin, who has a slipshod acquaint- 
ance with Rossetti. 

11 I should think they strayed towards the Oughte- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 185 

rard umbrella," I suggested, as we furled the tent of 
evil-smelling gingham in the hall. " Since the stuff 
has come away from two of the spikes it has got the 
dissipated charwoman look that is so attractive." 

When we went to bed that night the rain was still 
dropping heavily from the eave-shoots, and, in the 
depressingly early waking that follows an early going 
to bed, it was the first sound that I recognised. The 
hotel was silent when we came down, and the coffee- 
room redolent of vanished breakfasts ; the fishermen 
had evidently betaken themselves to their trade in an 
access of despair. The waiter was reserved on the 
subject of the weather ; he neither blessed nor cursed, 
but hoped, with offensive cheerfulness, that it would 
improve, and we knew in our hearts that he was cer- 
tain it would not. We watched him enviously as 
he came in and out with plates, and arranged long 
battalions of forks on a side table. What was the 
weather to him, with his house-shoes and evening 
clothes and absolute certainty of what he had to do 
next from now till bed-time? W T e would thankfully 



1 86 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

have gone into the kitchen and proffered our services 
to the cook, or even to the boots, but instead of that 
we had to wander to the abhorred ladies' drawing- 
room, and there to mourn the fallacy of the state- 
ment that Satan finds some mischief still for idle 
hands to do. 

It did clear up in the afternoon, grudgingly and 
gloomily, but still conscientiously, and we ordered 
out Sibbie, with a view to seeing how much of the 
country was left above water. We drove along the 
Westport road till we had passed the last long bend 
of the Killaries, and looking across a wooded valley 
saw the rush of water and jumble of foam above the 
mouth of the Erriff river that marked the chosen 
resort of the fishermen. We got a man to hold Sibbie 
for a few minutes while we went down and stood on 
the slender fishing bridge, and looked at a solitary 
angler throwing his fly with the usual scientific grace, 
and with the usual total absence of result, till we felt 
it would be kinder to go away. The midges were not 
perhaps as giant or as insatiable as the Salruck variety, 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 187 

but we heard that night at dinner that they had been 
enough to drive the whole body of the hotel fisher- 
men back from the river in the morning ; and as we 
looked down the double row of faces, all apparently in 
the first stage of convalescence after small-pox, we 
gathered some idea of what their sufferings must have 
been. One youth, whose midge-bites had reached the 
point at which they might almost be termed confluent, 
told us that he had lain down on the ground in a kind 
of frenzy and covered himself with his mackintosh, and 
that the midges had crawled in through the button- 
holes and devoured him as he lay. 

We continued our drive towards Westport, with the 
river on one side, and on the other great green moun- 
tains speckled with thousands of sheep ; the road was 
steep, but we persevered up its long shining grey 
slope, without any definite intention except that of see- 
ing what was on the other side. We found out rather 
sooner than we had expected. There appeared sud- 
denly over the top of the hill, where the road bent its 
back against the sky, the capering figures of three 



1 88 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

young horses, and at that sight we turned Sibbie 
sharp round and fled down the hill. The young 
horses came galloping down after us with manes 
and tails flying, and visions of another runaway, with 
the final trampling of our fallen bodies by our pur- 
suers, made us " nourish " Sibbie with the whip in a 
way that was scarcely necessary. She extended her 
long legs at a gallop ; the trap swung from side to 
side ; it seemed as if the horses gained nothing on 
us ; and as the trees of Astleagh Lodge came nearer 
and nearer there flashed upon us in an instant the 
spectacle of a close finish at the hotel door, and the 
thought of the godsend that it would be to the 
smoking-room. But the smoking-room was fated not 
to behold it. As suddenly as the pursuit had begun 
so did it end. The three colts whirled up a bohireen 
towards a farmhouse, and we then became aware of a 
small girl running after them down the road with a 
stick in her hand. It was only the Connemara version 
of Mary calling the cattle home, written in rather 
faster time than is usual, and with a running accom- 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 189 

paniment in two flats, supplied by ourselves. Sibbie 
was not thoroughly reassured even when we reached 
the hotel, and we drove past it along the road seaward 
till we reached a point from which we saw the whole 
of the long exquisite fiord of the Killaries, and 
beyond the furthest of its dark, over-lapping points 
the thin silver line of the open sea. 

" Eight o'clock breakfast, please, and call us sharp 
at seven," were our last words on our last night at 
Leenane. The final day of our tour had come, and 
two things remained imperatively for us to do. We 
had to see Delphi, and we had to accomplish the 
twenty Irish miles that lay between Sibbie and her 
home in Oughterard. Energy and an early start were 
necessary, and eight .o'clock struck as we walked 
into the breakfast-room, expecting to find our twin 
breakfast-cups and plates stationed in lonely fellow- 
ship at one end of a long desert of tablecloth. What 
we did find "was a gobbling, haranguing crowd of 
fishermen, full of a daily, accustomed energy that 
made ours seem a very forced and exotic growth. 



190 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

The waiter, who at 9.30 yesterday morning had been 
servilely attentive, now regarded us with a coldly dis- 
traught eye. Clearly he was of the opinion of the 
indignant housemaid who declared that " there never 
was a rale lady that was out of her bed before nine 
in the morning." Breakfast after breakfast came 
in, but not for us. We saw with anguish the athletic 
curate make a clean sweep of the gooseberry jam, 
and the last of the hot cakes had disappeared 
before our coffee and chops were vouchsafed to us. 
Consequently it was a good deal later than we 
wanted it to be when we went down to the pier 
and got into the boat that was to take us across to 
Delphi. 

The weather was grey and rough, and we asked the 
boatmen their opinion of it as we crept along in the 
shelter of the western shore of the bay, as close as 
possible to the seaweedy points of rock, the chosen 
playgrounds of the seals 

" There's not much wind, but what there is is very 
high," said the stroke. " Faith, it's hardly we'll get 




-38*^, 



EIGHT O CLOCK BREAKFAST, PLEASE, AM; 
CALL US SHARP AT SEVEN." 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 193 

over to Delphi with the surges that'll be in it when 
we'll be out in the big wather." 

" Ah, na boclisJi ! " struck in the bow, who, judging 
by his glowing complexion, was of the sanguine tem- 
perament. " I'd say it'll turn up a grand day yet. 
What signifies the surges that'll be in it ? " 

We began to think it signified a good deal when, 
after a pull of nearly two miles, we forsook the shore, 
and, turning out into the open water, met the full and 
allied strength of the wind and tide. The " surges " 
were quite as large as any that we want to see, and 
the progress of the boat was like a succession of 
knight's moves at chess, two strokes towards the 
Delphi shore, and one stroke to bring her head to the 
advancing " surge." Naturally, we took a long time 
to get across, and when we got there we had still a 
walk of two miles before us ; only that it really did 
" turn up a grand day " our hearts would have failed 
us, as we felt the hours slipping from us, and remem- 
bered the journey that was before us in the afternoon. 

Delphi was called so by some genius who saw in its 

o 



194 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

lake and overhanging mountains a resemblance to the 
home of the oracle. The boatmen were not able to 
remember when the little lake had been converted 
and rebaptized, or who the missionary had been, but 
rumour pointed to a Bishop and a Dean of the Irish 
Church, who, within the recollection of old inhabitants, 
had been the first to impart civilisation to the Kil- 
laries ; who had built the charming fishing-lodge at 
the head of the lake, and had fished its waters, attired 
in poke bonnets and bottle-green veils. We had not 
been more than five minutes there before we under- 
stood the rationale of the bonnets and veils, and 
wished that we had been similarly protected from 
the blood-thirsty midges, that made our wanderings 
by the lake and our lunch by the river a time of 
torture. 

But the stings of the midges have died away, and 
the recollection of the glassy curve of the river, the 
mirrored wild flowers at its brim, the classical grove 
of pines and slender white birches, and the luminous 
purple reflection of the mountain lying deep in the 



IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 195 

stream beneath them are the things that come into 
our minds when we think of our last day in Conne- 
mara. As a companion picture, belonging, too, to 
that day, I seem still to see my cousin's sailor hat 
flying from her head like a rocketing pheasant, in a 
gust that caught us as we crossed the Killaries on our 
return journey. It crested the " surges " gallantly for 
a few minutes, but finally filled and sank with all 
hands, that is to say, two most cherished hatpins, 
before we could reach it. 

That moment was the beginning of the end. One 
of the most important members of the expedition 
had left it, and the general dissolution was at hand. 
The regret with which we paid our hotel bill was not 
wholly mercenary, but was blended with the finer 
pathos of farewell. The cup of bovril of which we 
partook when the first five miles of our journey had 
been accomplished was " strong as first love, and wild 
with all regret " ; it was the last of a staunch and 
long-enduring little pot, and economy required that 
no scraping of it should remain at the final unpacking 



196 THROUGH CONNEMARA 

of the hamper. Gingerbread biscuits that had been 
hoarded like gold pieces were flung en masse to a 
passing tramp before even the preliminary blessing 
had flowed from her lips ; and the last of the seed- 
cake was forced into Sibbie's reluctant mouth. The 
frugalities of a fortnight were dissipated in one hour 
of joyless, obligatory debauch. 

It was eight o'clock that evening when, after five or 
six hours' driving, we came down the long slope of 
the moor outside Oughterard. The mountains of 
Connemara were all behind us, in the pale distant 
guise in which we had first known them, and the only 
things that remained to us of our wanderings in their 
valleys were the governess-cart and the tired, but still 
dauntless, Sibbie. Even these would not be ours much 
longer ; the door of Murphy's hotel would soon witness 
our final separation, and to-morrow we should be, like 
any other tourists, swinging into Galway on the 
mail-car. 

" Well, at all events," said my cousin, as we said 
these things to each other, " we have converted Sibbie. 




THE REGRET WITH WHICH WE PAID OUR HOTEL BILL WAS NOT 

WHOLLY MERCENARY, BUT WAS BLENDED WITH THE FINER 

PATHOS OF FAREWELL." 






IN A GOVERNESS-CART. 199 

I have noticed several little things about her lately 
that make me sure she regards us with a stern 
affection. I daresay," she went on, " that she 
will detest going back to her old life and sur- 
roundings." 

My second cousin looked pensively at Sibbie as 
she said this, and whipped up through the streets of 
Oughterard with a kind of melancholy flourish. 
Nothing was further from her expectations or from 
mine than the eel-like dive which, just as the sympa- 
thetic reflection was uttered, Sibbie made into the 
archway leading to Mr. Johnny Flanigan's stable ; 
and we have ever since regretted that, owing to our 
both having fallen on to the floor of the gover- 
ness-cart, Mr. Flanigan could not have credited 
the brilliant curve with which we entered his 
yard to our coachmanship. In fact, what he said 
was : 

" Well, now, I'm afther waiting these two hours out 
in the sthreet the way I'd be before her to ketch her 
when she'd do that, and, may the divil admire me, 



200 THROUGH CONNEMARA. 

but she picked the minnit I was back in the house for 
a coal to light me pipe, and she have me bet afther 
all. But ye needn't say a word, when she hasn't the 
two o' ye desthroyed ! " 



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Xist of forthcoming publications. 

[READY EARLY IN 1893.] 

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GREAT BARRIER REEF OF AUSTRALIA: 

ITS PRODUCTS AND POTENTIALITIES. 

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Corals and Coral Reefs, Pearl and Pearl Shell, Beche-de-Mer, other 

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Australian Great Barrier Region. 

By \V. Saville-Kent, F.L.S., F.Z.S., F.I.Inst., &c. 

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, represented by a vast rampart of 
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W. H. Allen 6° Cols General Catalogue. 29 

Two Vols., Crown 8vo, with Maps, 12s. 

HISTORY OF INDIA, 

From the Earliest Times to the Present Day. 

For the use of Students and Colleges. 

By H. G. Keene, C.I.E., Hon. M.A. Oxon, Author of "The Fall ol 

the Moghul Empire," &c. 

[In the Press. 

SIR MORELL MACKENZIE, 

Physician and Operator. 

A Memoir, compiled and edited, by request of the Family, from 
Private Papers and Personal Reminiscences. 

By The Rev. H. R. Haweis, M.A., Author of " Music and Morals," &c. 

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Crown 8vo. Illustrated with Sketches by the Author. 

THE CHURCHES OF PARIS. 

Historical and Archaeological. 

By Sophia Beale. 

Contents. — Notre Dame ; Notre Dame des Champs ; Notre Dame de 
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[In February. 
One Vol. , Crown 8vo. 

ORNITHOLOGY. 

In Relation to Agriculture and Horticulture. 

Edited by John Watson, F.L.S., &c. 

List of Contributors. — Miss Eleanor A. Ormerod, late Con- 
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the British Ornithologists' Union ; T. Southwell, F.Z.S. ; Rev. 
Theo. Wood, B.A., F.I.S. ; J. H. Gurney, Jun., M.P. ; Harrison 
Weir, F.R.H.S. ; W. H. Tuck. 

London: 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, S.W. 



30 W. H. Allen 6- Co's General Catalogue. 

Demy 4to. 2 is. With 22 Portraits and other Illustrations. 

INDIA'S PRINCES. 

Short Life Sketches of the Native Rulers of India. 
By Mrs. Griffith. 

The work will contain Portraits of the various Princes, and upwards of 
50 Illustrations, giving at one time a view of their Palaces, at another, 
of Public Buildings of note or interest ; while now and again a picture of 
scenery will lend to the volume an attraction which could scarcely be 
attained by mere "word painting." 

The contents will be arranged in the following order : — The Punjaub 
— H.H. The Maharaja of Cashmere, H.H. The Maharaja of Patiala, 
H.H. The Maharaja of Kapurthalla. Rajputana — The Maharaja of 
Ouidpur, The Maharaja of Jeypore, The Maharaja of Jodhpur, The 
Maharaja of Uwar, The Maharaja of Bhurtpur. Central India — H.H. 
The Maharaja Holkar of Indore, H.H. The Maharaja Scindia of 
Gwalior, H.H. The Begum of Bhopal. The Bombay Presidency — 
H.H. The Gaikwar of Baroda, H.H. The Rao of Cutch, H.H. The 
Raja of Kolhapur, H.H. The Nawab of Juarrghad, H.H. The Thakore 
Sahib of Bhavnagar, H.H. The Thakore Sahib of Dhangadra, H.H. The 
Thakore Sahib of Morvi, H.H. The Thakore Sahib of Gondal. 
Southern India— H.H. The Nizam of Hyderabad, H.H. The Ma- 
haraja of Mysore, H.H. The Maharaja of Travancore. 

{In February. 
Demy 8vo, 12s. 6d. 

A SHORT HISTORY OF CHINA. 

By Demetrius C. Boulger, M.R.A.S., 

Author of the "History of China" "England and Russia in Central 
Asia," &><:., &c. 

Being an account for the General Reader of an Ancient Empire and 
People. 

Contents.— The Early Ages; The First National Dynasty; Some 
Minor Dynasties ; The Sungs and the Kins ; The Mongols ; Kublai 
Khan ; The Chinese Re-conquest ; The Ming Rulers ; The Manchu 
Conquest ; The Emperor Kanghi ; Yung Ching ; The Emperor Keen 
Tung ; Imperial Expansion ; The Decline of the Manchus ; Tavukwang ; 
First Foreign War ; The Taeping Rebellion ; The Second Foreign War ; 
Internal Troubles; Recovery of the Empire; China's Place among the 
Powers. 

London; 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, S.W. 



W. H. Allen 6° Co.'s General Catalogue. 31 

Crown 8vo. 

WORDS ON EXISTING RELIGIONS. 

By the Hon. A. S. G. Canning, Author of " Thoughts on Shakespeare's 
Historical Plays," " Revolted Ireland," &c. 

Crown 8vo. 6s. 

LEAVES FROM A SPORTSMAN'S DIARY. 

By Parker Gillmore. 
(" Ubique.") 

New Edition, Crown 8vo. 

GUN, ROD, AND SADDLE. 

By Parker Gillmore. 
(" Ubique.") 

Crown 8vo. 

THE STORY OF A DACOITY— NAGOJI THE 
BEDER NAIK. 

By G. K. Betham. 

Crown 8vo. 

ESSAYS ON NAVAL DEFENCE. 

By Vice- Admiral P. H. Colomb, Author of "Naval Warfare." 

Crown Svo. Two Vols. 

CAPTAIN ENDERIS, FIRST WEST AFRICAN 

REGIMENT. 

A Novel. 

By A. P. Crouch, Author of "On a Surf-Bound Coast," "Glimpses 
of Feverland," &c. 

London: 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, S.W. 



m 

32 W. H. Allen &> Co.'s General Catalogue. / §fc>\ ' 

In the Press, one vol. 8vo, ready early in 1893. 

THE INDIAN EMPIRE: 

ITS PEOPLE, HISTORY, AND PRODUCTS. 

BY 

SIR W. W. HUNTER, K.C.S.I., CLE., LL.D. 



The Secretary of State for India has had under his consideration the 
issue of a complete account of our Indian possessions brought down to the 
census of 1891. The two standard works on the subject are Sir William 
Hunter's " Imperial Gazetteer of India" and "The Indian Empire" by 
the same author. The " Imperial Gazetteer " embodies in 14 volumes the 
leading results of the great statistical survey of India, while " The Indian 
Empire " condenses the whole into one thick volume. Both these works 
are now out of date, as their administrative, commercial, and social 
economic chapters only come down to 1871 and 1881, and "The Indian 
Empire ,; has for some time been also out of print. The Secretary of State 
has determined to postpone the revision of the larger work until the next 
Indian census of 1901, when it will form a great and permanent 
account of the condition and progress of India at the close of the 19th 
century. Meanwhile he has authorised the issue of a thoroughly 
revised edition of "The Indian Empire," and placed the necessary 
materials and assistance at Sir William Hunter's disposal, to enable 
him to carry out the work. The book, which has for some time 
been under preparation, will form a complete but compact account of 
India, its peoples, history, and products, the revision being based on the 
administration reports of the 12 provinces of British India and the feuda- 
tory States for 1891. New and valuable matter has been incorporated in 
each division of the work, and important sections have been added. 
The parts which deal with the population and races of India have been 
reconstructed on the returns of the Indian census of 189 1, and the whole 
of the administrative, commercial, and economic chapters have been 
brought up to the same date. The historical section, occupying several 
hundred pages, has been revised, and in part re-written, by the light of 
recent researches into Hindo and Mahometan history, and from the new 
materials afforded by the official publication of the Indian records, under 
the able editorship of Mr. Forrest and others. The publication of the 
work, which will make a large volume of about 800 pages, has been en- 
trusted to Messrs. W. H. Allen S: Co., who hope to be able to issue it in 
the Spring of 1893. 



London ; 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, S. W.